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Beyond the Law

February 14, 2011

When the rule of law fails…

only the criminals succeed.

Thanks to a handful of hackers, who will no doubt be hunted down and prosecuted to the full extent of the law, we have been exposed to the rampant lawlessness of Corporate America by their release of tens of thousands of e-mails from the security firm H.B. Gary, who will no doubt NOT be prosecuted in any way whatsoever.  In case you haven’t heard, here is a nice rundown of events for you, and here’s an interactive map of the people and firms involved.  It all points to behavior that has been going on for a long time now, but it’s fascinating to actually see it laid out in black and white.

This whole episode has really exposed something that I’ve been saying for a while…

The rich and powerful in this country have absolutely nothing to fear from the law.  As long as they’re only destroying the lives of average nobodies, they will never be held accountable for it.  They can say and do deplorable things, and the worst they ever have to contend with is a bad PR day.  This is the reality of our nation.  One’s ability to receive or escape justice is directly proportionate to the price of one’s lawyers.

Multinational corporation, acting through a smoke-screen of law firms, can get away with anything under the protection of “attorney client privilege”.  Our own Justice Dept. recommended the firm to help B of A go after WikiLeaks before they release incriminating evidence from a stolen hard drive, instead of asking just what kind of incriminating evidence was taken in the first place.  They have zero interest in holding billionaires accountable for their crimes, but will spare no expense going after tech-savvy teenagers.  Your tax dollars at work.

Glenn Greenwald, who was personally targeted by this firm in their proposal to B of A, had a bit to say about this which is definitely worth the read.

After Anonymous imposed some very minimal cyber disruptions on Paypal, Master Card and Amazon, the DOJ flamboyantly vowed to arrest the culprits, and several individuals were just arrested as part of those attacks.  But weeks earlier, a far more damaging and serious cyber-attack was launched at WikiLeaks, knocking them offline.  Those attacks were sophisticated and dangerous.  Whoever did that was quite likely part of either a government agency or a large private entity acting at its behest.  Yet the DOJ has never announced any investigation into those attacks or vowed to apprehend the culprits, and it’s impossible to imagine that ever happening.

Why?  Because crimes carried out that serve the Government’s agenda and target its opponents are permitted and even encouraged; cyber-attacks are “crimes” only when undertaken by those whom the Government dislikes, but are perfectly permissible when the Government itself or those with a sympathetic agenda unleash them.  Whoever launched those cyber attacks at WikiLeaks (whether government or private actors) had no more legal right to do so than Anonymous, but only the latter will be prosecuted.

That’s the same dynamic that causes the Obama administration to be obsessed with prosecuting WikiLeaks but not The New York Times or Bob Woodward, even though the latter have published far more sensitive government secrets; WikiLeaks is adverse to the government while the NYT and Woodward aren’t, and thus “law” applies to punish only the former.  The same mindset drives the Government to shield high-level political officials who commit the most serious crimes, while relentlessly pursuing whistle-blowers who expose their wrongdoing.  Those with proximity to government power and who serve and/or control it are free from the constraints of law; those who threaten or subvert it have the full weight of law come crashing down upon them.

Go read the whole thing, it’s fantastic.

The sad truth of all this is that our government is now wholly owned and operated by corporate criminals who are no longer above the law, but beyond it, and there’s very little we can do about it.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. February 18, 2011 8:23 am

    Welcome C&L readers! Please feel free to take a look around and tell me what you think.

  2. bob grandin permalink
    February 18, 2011 12:04 pm

    yes and as we have seen, it takes a “criminal act” to find out what is really going on. here’s a question no one is asking. who at the doj recommended these guys to “help” B of A and trash wikileaks?

    • February 18, 2011 12:22 pm

      Welcome Bob, thanks for the comment.

      You’re absolutely right. No one is asking that question, nor will they, because our Justice Dept is uninterested in actual justice, only in protecting the status quo.

  3. Eric Forat permalink
    February 19, 2011 2:22 pm

    If I may suggest one avenue, I would look very closely at some of our Supreme Court Justices, who might be vulnerable through their freewheeling ways with the very laws they are supposed to uphold. I am sure that a relentless exposure of some of their law-breaking (so sorry, I only meant shenanigans) could convince some in Congress to admit they have lost their protections because of the proved existence of conflicts of interests, and cause them to initiate impeachments proceedings. Exposing some of the crimes or misdemeanors who might have been committed by our three branches of government may have a very salutary effect on the conduct of all our Elected or Non-elected Officials. If pressure was to be applied on many fronts, through authentic documents, on particularly vulnerable Officials, without let or mercy, it might be enough to pry a few loose ends that might lead to a general unraveling of the respect generally accorded to the rich and powerful, who quite often today, do not deserve the least bit of it. As Wisconsin is showing, it is possible, and if the rich and powerful have decided to destroy the rest of us, even Gandhi would not have advised restraint in our use of non-violent resistance to effect our survival.

    • February 19, 2011 3:57 pm

      Welcome Eric.

      Spot on about conflicted justices. Perhaps with enough pressure they can be exposed, but I don’t see any being impeached for any reason. They still refuse to hold anyone from the bush admin accountable for their blatant lawlessness. It is quite heartening to see people finely taking to the streets though.

      Thanks for your thoughts.

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