Beyond the Law
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.