Friday, February 1, 2019

Law Enforcement As Political Bludgeon

     Several court decisions have ruled that the enforcers of the law, however we understand them, are under neither a legal nor an occupational obligation to “protect” anyone. This stands to reason, as a duty to protect is an affirmative one that can only arise from a contract between individuals, or between an individual and an organization. However high our taxes, they cannot impose a responsibility upon any employee of the local, state, or federal government to stand between us and would-be predators. Their role lies in the deterrence of predation via the investigation of crimes, the pursuit of lawbreakers, and the administration of justice. Or so a rational man would imagine.

     But recently law enforcers have “taken on a sideline:” coercing individuals targeted by a government agency into complying with extra-legal demands while instilling prejudice against them in the public's mind. As regards a well publicized recent “arrest,” Paul Craig Roberts has a few thoughts for us:

     Formerly, if a prosecutor staged an arrest for publicity purposes, as Mueller did by placing a CNN presstitute on the scene and sending a couple of dozen heavily armed men in a pre-dawn raid to arrest a well known political consultant for allegedly “lying to Congress” when the appropriate procedure is for [Special Prosecutor Robert] Mueller to inform [Roger] Stone’s lawyer to present his client for indictment, the judge would throw out the case on the grounds that the prosecutor’s unethical action had biased the juror pool and made a fair trial impossible. The judge might also have thrown out the case on the grounds of selective prosecution. James Clapper while serving as Director of National Intelligence lied to Congress under oath and suffered no consequences, and Hillary Clinton has clearly broken the law and lied about it.

     Today judges permit unethical behavior by prosecutors that deprives defendants of a fair trial, because judges don’t want the bother of trials any more than prosecutors do. Consequently, according to official statistics 97% of federal criminal cases are settled by a defendant pleading guilty to a charge negotiated by his attorney and a prosecutor. As the charge is a negotiated or made-up one, most people in prison are there for confessing to crimes that never occurred.

     Such abuses of power under color of law are not entirely new. The Securities and Exchange Commission used a similar approach to coerce Michael Milken into pleading guilty to six “process crimes” – paperwork nonsense that had no bearing on any actual wrong deed. In Milken’s case the feds threatened several of his family members, including his brother and his ninety year old grandfather, with prosecutions they were ill-equipped to endure. Protecting his family cost Milken heavily: two years in prison, $600 million in fines, and permanent exile from the securities industry. But the feds were determined to bag him to put an end to the rapidly expanding and completely legitimate high-yield bond industry, which was forcing useless and corrupt managements out of their sinecures. (Two excellent treatments of this farce of extortion-as-law are available: Daniel Fischel’s Payback and Jesse Kornbluth’s Highly Confident.)

     The contemporary approach, as in the case of Roger Stone, is the dramatic, heavily publicized takedown, often with a SWAT team and the media on hand. Such an arrest inherently taints the reputation of the accused. People will naturally associate him with danger to the public, for why else would so much force have been used to arrest him, and in the middle of the night at that? Never mind that Stone is a 66 year old man with no slightest hint of illegality in his past. Never mind that his location was well known. Stone was collaborating with Congress in an investigation of the misdeeds of Hillary Clinton, and our federal “law enforcers” were determined that his contributions to that effort be tarred with the blackest of brushes.

     In this connection we could also delve into the assaults on Randy Weaver’s Ruby Ridge homestead and the Branch Davidian compound at Waco. Both were plainly intended to plant deep in the public’s mind the conviction that the targeted persons and groups were deadly dangerous. Innocents died in both cases, but that’s mere “collateral damage” in the eyes of the Omnipotent State.

     Is it even imaginable that a person so targeted could thereafter receive a fair trial before an impartial jury?

     Roberts’s conclusions concerning the motivation behind the Stone arrest are chilling:

     Since Donald Trump won the Republican presidential nomination, the media has been allied with the military/security complex and the Democratic Party in an effort to deep-six Trump. As I expected would be the case, Trump had no idea how to staff a government that would have supported him against the Establishment. He has been blocked on every front from normalizing relations with Russia to establishing control over US borders to withdrawal from Syria. The latest line from the military/security complex and the presstitutes is that the US cannot withdraw its troops illegally occupying a rump section of Syria, because ISIS is resurgent in Syria and Iraq and will renew the war if US troops are withdrawn.

     He could well be correct, though there are probably more players in this game than the “military / security complex” alone. To me, one implication is worse than anything the Robert Mueller farce has produced so far: no organ of “law enforcement” or “justice” can be trusted to defend persons targeted by such tactics. Not even the president of the United States is safe from the bludgeon that has been fashioned from them.

     Your tax dollars at work, Gentle Reader. Ponder that as you prepare for your annual mulcting by the IRS.

1 comment:

John C. said...

Which is why I keep telling anyone who will listen we're living in a banana republic. A rich one but one nonetheless.