Now that the spying on Americans has been thoroughly outed, this is being reposted for readers. First publication June 1, 2013
Under Eric Holder, the Department of Justice has been employing dubious legal rationales to prosecute whistle blowers and political activists, not to mention to spy on journalists. The Espionage Act of 1917 has been used to prosecute whistleblowers; The Computer Fraud & Abuse Act has been utilized to prosecute political activists and the pretense of ‘criminal investigations’ has been used to spy on journalists.
At the same time, the DOJ has relentlessly and gleefully pursued whistleblowers, political activists and journalists they continually refuse to prosecute virtually any corporations which engage in criminal conduct, even when there is a preponderance of evidence to support prosecution (http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2013/04/30/the-failure-to-prosecute-corporate-crime-undermines-u-s-justice/).
Prior to 2008 three individuals were prosecuted under the Espionage Act of 1917. Since Obama has taken office at least six individuals have been prosecuted under this act. This includes Thomas Drake who exposed waste and abuse in an NSA procurement program and John Kiriakou who discussed CIA waterboarding with an ABC reporter.
The threat of long prison sentences associated with the Espionage Act has been used by the DOJ to extract and wheedle out guilty pleas to lesser charges by those accused. This is all about the use of plea bargains which play a major role in incarcerations and are used to wrestle prosecutions by the government (http://truth-out.org/news/item/12556-overwhelming-use-of-plea-bargains-plays-major-role-in-mass-incarceration).
A number of individuals have been prosecuted under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act despite the fact that none acted with any intent to defraud for financial gain. This includes Aaron Swartz who legally downloaded millions of journal articles with the intent of distributing them for free, Weev who accessed data on an ATT public server and sent it to Gawker, and the Paypal 14, a group of individuals who participated in a denial of service attack on Paypal to protest the refusal to accept donations on behalf of Wikileaks.
Despite this fact (or perhaps because of it) all of these individuals were prosecuted for political motives. The consequences of such abuses by the government are sordid: Swartz committed suicide and Weev is serving 41 months in federal prison, and he is currently housed in solitary confinement (http://www.dailycensored.com/boyd-vs-us-the-decline-of-the-4th-5th-amendments-and-rise-of-the-modern-corporate-police-state-in-america/)
Spying on Journalists
In May 2013 it was reported that the Justice Department obtained the phone records of over 100 AP journalists without a warrant in a supposed ‘criminal investigation’ to find the source of a news leak. It was also reported that the DOJ obtained a warrant to break into the e-mail account of Fox News Washington Bureau chief, James Rosen. The DOJ claimed Rosen was being investigated as a criminal co-conspirator in a leak investigation. It has emerged that this was a phony pretext to obtain access to his e-mail account. The DOJ also illegally spied on Rosen’s parents.
Fox News is no friend to working people but this is not the point: if the government can do this to Rosen and his parents, then it can do it to us all.
This has the distinct aroma of Watergate and for those readers interested in how mobbed-up Nixon used spying on journalists please read “Watergate the Hidden History” by Lamar Waldron. You can also go to: (http://watergatethehiddenhistory.com/) for more updates that are emerging daily.
Refusing to prosecute corporate offenders
While the Justice Department has relentlessly prosecuted whistle blowers, political activists and spied upon journalists they have refused to criminally prosecute corporations, even when there is compelling evidence of criminal misconduct.
This includes HSBC (Europes largest bank) where there was evidence of laundering drug money in Mexico (http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2013/03/elizabeth-warren-wants-hsbc-bankers-jailed-for-money-laundering/), Ralph Lauren Co which admitted to engaging in bribery in Argentina and MF Global Hedge Fund which allegedly co-mingled customer and company money for illegal investments (http://www.dailycensored.com/ralph-lauren-lauryn-hill-the-miseducation-of-the-department-of-justice/).
When the prosecution of whistle blowers and political activists are viewed together with the DOJ’s spying on journalists, it is apparent that Holder’s Department of Justice is using the criminal justice system as a weapon against perceived adversaries of the Obama administration. Holder expressed remorse for the spying on journalists, murmuring something about his progressive values (http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/05/28/holder-s-regrets-and-repairs.html). But he has expressed no such remorse about the prosecution of whistleblowers and political activists or his office’s refusal to prosecute any banks or other large corporations for criminal misconduct. The fox is guarding the henhouse.
Selective prosecution is Eric Holder’s mantra and when it comes to prosecuting banks, he is on record clearly stating:
“I am concerned that the size of some of these institutions becomes so large that it does become difficult for us to prosecute them when we are hit with indications that if you do prosecute, if you do bring a criminal charge, it will have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy,”
Holder went on to add to this, according to The Hill:
“And I think that is a function of the fact that some of these institutions have become too large.” (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/06/eric-holder-banks-too-big_n_2821741.html).
Avoiding the hard job of prosecuting white collar criminals and banksters and using the legal system as a tool to intimidate and to persecute adversaries is not compatible with democracy it is the tradition of police states and it is the domain of banana republics, dictators and despotic regimes. The Obama Administration has pursued whistleblowers and leakers with a prevent zeal and astonishing speeds, not unlike the Mafia’s practices of silencing snitches (again see: http://watergatethehiddenhistory.com/).
It is within this context that the upcoming trial of Bradley Manning should be viewed (http://rt.com/usa/bradley-manning-protest-support-117/). It is also the lens we should use when critically examining the forced exile of wikileaks founder, Julian Assange who, like Daniel Ellsberg was in the past, is being persecuted for giving the public information they need to know in order to make rational decisions and choices about how to manage their lives and the social and economic systems they live in. Alas, rational decisions and choices are the hallmark of a democratic system and the current state of plutocratic America can hardly be called a democracy.