An Upside Down World of Justice

220px-JMR-Lady Justice

Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty, (rafflaw) Weekend Contributor

In our sometimes upside down world, it can seem that the lives and secrets of our intelligence service employees and their agencies are worth more than the lives and physical and mental well-being of the countless prisoners who were tortured by the CIA .  That is the same torture that was authorized and approved at the highest levels of our government.

Let’s also not forget the many instances of allegedly criminal activity by large banks and their employees that resulted in civil fines or no action at all, notwithstanding the lives that were shattered in the meantime.

Recently it was disclosed that the Department of Justice and the FBI have recommended that Gen. David Petraeus be criminally prosecuted for allegedly passing his classified CIA email account and exposing state secrets to the biographer/author he was having an affair with.  This is the very same Department of Justice, along with the Obama Administration that claims it did not have enough evidence to file charges against admitted torturers and those that authorized the torture and destruction of evidence.

” The F.B.I. and Justice Department prosecutors have recommended bringing felony charges against David H. Petraeus, contending that he provided classified information to a lover while he was director of the C.I.A., officials said, and leaving Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to decide whether to seek an indictment that could send the pre-eminent military officer of his generation to prison.

The Justice Department investigation stems from an affair Mr. Petraeus had with Paula Broadwell, an Army Reserve officer who was writing his biography, and focuses on whether he gave her access to his C.I.A. email account and other highly classified information.” New York Times

While I have no problem with the Department of Justice and the FBI bringing charges against Gen. Petraeus if he has broken the law, why is the CIA itself immune to criminal charges over illegal torture?  Is the possible indictment of Petraeus merely related to an alleged crackdown on whistleblowers that disclose “state secrets”, as alleged in the prosecution and sentencing of former CIA official, John Kiriakou?

It is interesting to me that while the Obama Administration has prosecuted more whistleblowers than any other administration, not a single Torturer has been called to Justice.  Not a single Bankster has been called to answer for his/her crimes that devastated the U. S. economy and wrecked countless lives in the process.

Instead, legitimate whistle blowers are forced to hide in foreign countries for their alleged crimes of informing us of the abuses to privacy laws that have been going on for at least a decade, if not longer.  There is a lesson to be learned when the Department of Justice wants to prosecute a former 4 star general and former head of the CIA for allowing his mistress to see his classified email account, but the individuals who broke United States law in torturing prisoners remain free and unscathed.

That lesson is that if you dare to inform the American public of our country’s abuses, your freedom is at risk.  However, if you torture people or authorize torture, we will turn a blind eye.

If you admit to the destruction of evidence of that torture, we just can’t find enough evidence to prosecute you.   If you destroy an economy, you are too big to jail, but not too big for Congressional efforts to allow you to continue to feed at the public trough when your banking gambles don’t pay off.

When and how will this upside down world right itself?  When will those in power be called to account for their selective blindness and their illegal actions?

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39 thoughts on “An Upside Down World of Justice”

  1. I worry that our governmental employees will no longer be the “best of the best.” The people you are denouncing did what they were told to do. Odd, there wasn’t a posse of people going after the pilot and crew who flew the plane to bomb Japan with nuclear power. They were ordered to do it, did, and that was that. Today they would be charged with war crimes.

    Today, a promise from a President with a guarantee of anonymity will never again be valid. The President meant it and took steps to be certain of that.
    I do not believe that the press has the right to these extremely important protections.

    If Obama approved these actions, which he had to, what is the press going to do? Nothing, absolutely nothing. This is their guy. They helped him get elected twice. They’d help again if it was possible. Our press couldn’t reach the knees of the folks at Charlie Hebdo. Here we just play gotcha!

    War is ugly, with each new step in weaponry it gets uglier. But we send people to fight these ugly wars, then say oh what terrible things you’ve done! In Paris the ugliness was in our faces. Then the roar “find them, kill them.” We already did that. Then ordered to retreat and come home. No choice, an order was an order. They knew what would happen, but does anybody listen to what they say? No.

    I ‘ve told you they want to kill you, unless you convert, and they may kill you anyway. I watched a man run out of the Kosher market being attacked. He had a baby in his arms. They wanted to kill that baby, because he was in a Kosher market. They killed in that market assuming everybody were Jews. Just because they were in a market selling Kosher foods. Ever been in a Kosher market? I have. Are all Kosher markets going to get protection? Probably not. So the next time any of us go to a Kosher market, realize your life may be at stake. Does everybody want to live that way? Just so we don’t fight?

    I don’t!

  2. calypso, Great summary of how this Chicago politician persecutes his political rivals. It’s the Chicago Way.

  3. After glowing articles about Petraeus’ command in Iraq mentioned him as a potential Presidential/VP candidate (Washington Post, NYT, et. al.) Obama demoted him to Afghanistan. Except then, he was also revamped failed White House strategy there (criticism of which had led to the firing of McChrystal) and had success again. So Obama moved Petraeus to the CIA where he was expected to remain apolitical through the 2012 election. But when the NSA/FBI searched his emails for political dirt, they came up with the evidence of an affair, which the Administration quickly used to discredit him. Now, knowing that the affair is not a permanent political injury, the Administration seeks a felony charge to put him out of politics for good.

    So the answer to Mr. Rafferty’s qestion is that the difference comes from the torture proponents are not yet political enemies, and have probably been well-warned not to be.

  4. Except for a small handful of newspapers and press organizations, most press and media organizations have been absolutely derelict in their duty to “check” the government and oligarchs.

    These organizations receive protections under the First Amendment in exchange for telling truth to power – informing voters so they can self-govern.

  5. It’s been done in other countries, why not here. The first move is to reign in financial contributions. Google a bit and see how Canada and Great Britain did it. In Canada, the lion’s share of financing comes via the votes the party garnered the last time around. In other words the public pays for what the public wants, not special interests pay for what the public gets. Everything America stands for should include change for the better.

  6. Hatred of the duopoly is what binds some of us here. We may not agree on much, but we do agree the duopoly must be eviscerated.

  7. Olly

    No gritting of teeth. The left is part of the same ludicrous system and because it is the only game in town it plays the game. This may or may not be as true with the right but they too play the game instead of seeing that the game is part of the problems. The ‘absolutist interpretations’ refer to the way ideals proposed 238 years ago seem to be interpreted today to serve the conservative or the liberal, each in their own extreme. Perhaps the stalemate is most evident in the fact that there are only two parties.

    Growing up in Canada, we probably knew the American way of life better than the average American. We saw the country and its contradictions clearly from a distance yet close enough to wonder. Most Americans live in a part of the US. We also knew Great Britain well. When I say knew, it was in a time much less inundated by what most people have to wade through today. In Great Britain as in Canada there were two parties, the left and the right. The parliamentary system is inherently more democratic than the American system and more flexible. Now in both countries, as in most advanced democracies there are four or more parties to better represent diverse opinions. The US has two, one more than a dictatorship. Yet this is never focused on. One is either to one or the other degree. Or, perhaps it’s only this blog.

    History has shown us that some of the aspects we revere have always been there, freedom, choice, etc. American did not invent them, only they put them together to form a recent ideal that appeals to many.

    I sometimes wonder if the problem with America isn’t its ideals but that too many Americans seem to think that with the words written 238 years ago, it stops, interpreted and cast in concrete.

    The founding fathers were not those who lived by the words we aspire to live by. They saw what is represented by those words. In actuality they were much further away than we are today. John Hancock and his uncle leased ships and supplies to the British to expel the residents of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Maine throughout the rest of North America. A few years later he jumped on board a better financial arrangement by joining in rebellion to GB. A thousand or so Acadians died at sea.

    We need to call a spade a spade from time to time regardless of how it reflects in the mirror of our interpretation of those sacred words. We seem to go around in circles stating the same absolutes because it’s easier than dealing with the problems. The American system of government, two parties, a king or President, and worst of all, a complacent and manipulable voter is in dire need of some judicious revamping. How on earth can we call ourselves a democracy when politicians are bought by special interest groups and billionaires.

    1. issac – I am aware that John Hancock was America’s number one smuggler prior to the Declaration of Independence, but I was not aware he was dumping Acadians in the Atlantic. You have a cite for this?

  8. That lesson is that if you dare to inform the American public of our country’s abuses, your freedom is at risk. However, if you torture people or authorize torture, we will turn a blind eye.

    If you admit to the destruction of evidence of that torture, we just can’t find enough evidence to prosecute you. If you destroy an economy, you are too big to jail, but not too big for Congressional efforts to allow you to continue to feed at the public trough when your banking gambles don’t pay off.

    Disgraceful – and I sang all four verses of “America” today at our Messiah Choir in an 1848 “Trinity” Lutheran Church. It makes me cry.

  9. Darren, the FACT is that Ventura was NOT allegedly slandered by Kyle. A jury and our courts have found that he told an outrageous LIE that sought to defame with MALICE. As a legal person, you know that it is very hard to press a civil claim for slander of libel against a public figure who has far less protections than an ordinary Joe. The slander or libel has to be particularly egregious for the suit to succeed. That it did is indicative of the outrageousness of the lie.

    I just finished reading the book American Sniper which I rather liked and have a good opinion of Kyle, except for the fact that he is uncritical of the war in Iraq. He let his politics get in the way of good judgment and he made an error. We all make mistakes, and when we do the best thing to do is to admit it rather than defend the indefensible. It is similar to the error Prof Turley made when he parroted the State Dept line and the neo-con lie about the coup in the Ukraine. I have a lot of respect and agree with most of his critique of this administration on much of their actions on their refusal for political reasons to not press charges against big malefactors. I wish Prof Turley would correct his opinion about the State Dept lie about the events in the Ukraine to at least keep his side clean and less blemished.

  10. I add that this administration is going after, through the military courts, the SEAL operator who aired out Usama Bin Laden.

    There is as mentioned in the article General Petraeus. And on the civil side that dishonorable coward former governor Jesse Ventura who sues Chris Kyle’s widow and child for over a million dollars because he was allegedly slandered by the late war hero.

    Folks, this is how our government officials often treat those who defend our nation. First they praise these heroes and jump in with them whenever there is a photo-op, and when they disagree the heroes are labeled pariahs and taken out.

    It kind of reminds me of this old Soviet photograph where certain people keep disappearing.

  11. And, you would think Jack Morris would have better things to do w/ his time. You were a great pitcher, Jack. I was @ game 6 won by Kirby, and watched you win Game 7!

  12. JMorris has on his permanent record, “Easily distracted.” And, I hope he doesn’t run w/ scissors.

  13. “absolutist interpretations of those sacred writings of 238 years ago that are unrelated to the present day,”

    I could just see you gritting your teeth as you attempted to place any blame on the left. That’s okay though, at least you tried. What I was most impressed by was that statement from you above. It needs further clarity, so please be specific; which “absolutist interpretations”?

  14. Nick,

    ESPN just called, they need you in the broadcast booth. Return to Turley when able to keep on topic (as you so often advise others).

  15. There’s those that gets away with it. There’s those that pull the strings on the puppets on both sides of the aisle, (more on the right than the left, however), and then there’s those who fall into the trap. The best thing that can happen to an oligarch, or a privileged banker, or a hidden criminal is to focus the attention on the other side. If it’s the right or the left that’s at fault, then it can’t be those that are hidden behind the scenes. Those that constantly blame Obama for everything are part of the problem. Us that blame Bush contribute to the problem but there is no comparison between the damage done by the three stooges and the failure of Obama to fix it in less than six years.

    That vitriol should be focused in the direction of the problem itself: two party polarized system of government, unlimited financial access to supposedly elected leaders, absolutist interpretations of those sacred writings of 238 years ago that are unrelated to the present day, representation of issues through relentless and mindless sloganeering and jingoism until the vacuous simply pick a side, etc. etc. etc.

    America is a great country but its main fault is it doesn’t have the confidence to change what is wrong with it. Ya got yer Sergeant York the hero and yer Kennedy the hero. I would rather have Kennedy leading than York.

    This Presidency, Supreme Court, House based on polar opposites is a dance that is just that, entertainment. This blog tells us that if it tells us anything.

    Money should not be the vehicle that gets our leaders elected. There are better and more democratic methods. They exist and regardless of what one thinks of other systems of democracy they are in general less dependent on financing from a*holes like the Koch brothers and their democratic billionaire counterparts. The greatest sacrilege America has committed is to allow these depravities to be defended by what we hold sacred.

    If Holder and the other right wing targets should be prosecuted then Cheney and Kissinger should be doing life. It’s the system that allows this sort of chess player at the table.

  16. Janet, Hollywood just called, they need their soapbox back. Return it after the Golden Globes are over. Thanks.

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