18 December 2004
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by Paul Craig Roberts
While enjoying Christmas, good food and drink with family and friends in the warmth and comfort of your home, take a moment to remember the falsely imprisoned. Think about how your own family would handle the grief, because wrongful imprisonment can happen to you.
In a just published book, Thinking About Crime, Michael Tonry, a distinguished American law professor and director of Cambridge University’s Institute of Criminology, reports that the US has the highest percentage of its population in prison of any country on earth. The US incarceration rate is as much as 12 times higher than that of European countries.
Unless you believe that Americans are more criminally inclined than other humans, what can explain the US incarceration rate being so far outside the international mainstream? I can think of the following reasons:
1. In order to prove that they are "tough on crime," politicians have criminalized behavior that is legal elsewhere.
2. Many innocent Americans are in jail.
There is enormous evidence backing up both reasons.
Professor Tonry notes that during the past three decades the number of Americans in prison has increased 700%. Imprisonment has far outstripped the growth in the population. Subtracting children and the elderly, one in eighty Americans of prison eligible age is locked up.
America’s privatized prisons have to be fed with inmates in order to maintain their profitability. Prosecutors need high conviction rates to justify their budgets and to build their careers. Taken together these two facts create powerful incentives to put people away regardless of crime, innocence or guilt.
Consider the case of Charles Thomas Sell as recently told by Carolyn Tuft of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and by Phyllis Schlafly on TownHall (Dec. 13). Mr. Sell, a dentist, has been locked up for almost 8 years without a trial. Allegedly, Sell is guilty of Medicare fraud, but with no evidence or witnesses against him, the virtuous, just, democratic, moral US government tortured Mr. Sell in an effort to make him confess. Now they can’t bring him to trial where he will talk. So Mr. Sell is kept locked up under the pretense that his unwillingness to admit his guilt is evidence that he is mentally incompetent.
Schlafly asks the correct question: "Is there no accountability for this type of government misconduct?" The answer is NO. Mr. Sell might as well be in Stalin’s Gulag or in the hands of the Waffen SS or US captors at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. No one will do anything about the crime that the US government has committed against Mr. Sell.
No one will do anything to help William R. Strong, Jr., another victim of our heartless injustice system. Strong has been in a Virginia prison for a decade on false charges of "wife rape." Mr. Strong has been trying to get a DNA test, confident that the semen in the perk test is not his but that of the lover of his unfaithful wife. But since Strong was convicted prior to the advent of DNA testing, prosecutors argue that he has no right to the evidence.
Another innocent victim of "Virginia justice" is Chris Gaynor, who my investigations indicate was framed by a corrupt prosecutor with the connivance of a corrupt judge, who intimidated Gaynor’s witnesses by jailing one of them. Only liars were permitted on the witness stand. I brought the facts to light in the newspapers at the time, but the Arlington, Virginia, criminal injustice system did not let facts interfere with its show trial.
Government routinely breaks the laws. So says Judge Andrew P. Napolitano in the current issue of Cato Policy Report and in his book, Constitutional Chaos: What Happens When the Government Breaks Its Own Laws. Judge Napolitano reports on cases of torture, psychological abuse, and frame-ups of innocents that he discovered as the presiding judge. Any American naïve enough to trust the police and prosecutors should read what Napolitano has to say.
Torture has become routine in American prisons. The goal of the torturers is guilty pleas and false testimony against innocent defendants. The torturers succeed. Napolitano reports that "fewer than 3 percent of federal indictments were tried; virtually all the rest of those charged pled guilty."
Does anyone seriously believe that the police are so efficient that 97 out of 100 people indicted are guilty?!
The cherished code, "you are innocent until proven guilty," no longer holds in America. You are guilty when charged. You will be tortured or abused and threatened with more charges until you agree to a plea bargain.
Diane Lori Kleiman is an attorney who has worked in a district attorney’s office and for the Treasury Department’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. She says prosecutors have little concern with real crimes, preferring to target high-profile individuals in order to garner headlines and create a political career for themselves. Martha Stewart is a victim of prosecutorial ambition as was Michael Milken, whose false imprisonment created a political career for Rudy Giuliani.
Kleiman says that prosecutors look for high-profile targets. "It isn’t necessarily an issue of right and wrong. It’s an issue of taking the case to trial and getting the publicity. That makes your career."
The Martha Stewart case, Kleiman says, "is the first time in history where they charged an individual with false statements, without her signing the statement or without a tape recording that she even made the statement. And not under oath." Kleiman is referring to US history, not Soviet or Nazi history, histories that our criminal injustice system now mimics.
The US criminal justice system is bereft of justice and accountability. It only serves the ambitions of prosecutors. In America, criminal "justice" operates like a Stalin-era street sweep in which hapless citizens instantly became "enemies of the people" simply by being arrested.
December 18, 2004
Dr. Roberts is John M. Olin Fellow at the Institute for Political Economy and Research Fellow at the Independent Institute. He is a former associate editor of the Wall Street Journal, former contributing editor for National Review, and a former assistant secretary of the U.S. Treasury. He is the co-author of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.
Copyright © 2004 Creators Syndicate
12 December 2004
December 9, 2004
US adopts National ID: Homeland Security Now In charge of Regulations for all US States Drivers Licenses and Birth Certificates
By: Jonathan Wheeler
In a chilling act more reminiscent of the now defunct Soviet Union or the Nazi regime of Adolph Hitler, the United States Congress passed legislation yesterday that requires the States to surrender their regulatory rights over driver’s licenses and birth certificates to The Department of Homeland Security.
The massive US Intelligence Reform Bill weighed in at over 3,000 pages and though unread by individual Members of either the House or Senate nevertheless passed all of the legislative hurdles needed in order to become law.
President Bush lobbied hard for these provisions, only objecting when Senator Sensenbrenner attempted to require these same provisions for illegal aliens but which the President opposed. This provision was dropped from the final bill.
Beginning in 2005, the Department of Homeland Security will issue new uniformity regulations to the States requiring that all Drivers Licenses and Birth Certificates meet minimal Federal Standards with regard to US citizen information, including biometric security provisions.
Added to currently existing Federal Laws and Supreme Court rulings American citizens when born will be issued a Social Security Number that will be included on their Birth Certificates, along with DNA biometric markers. All birth certificates will also be registered in a Federal Government database maintained by the Department of Homeland Security. No child will be allowed enrollment to schools or be entitled to either State of Federal Government benefits programs without first presenting a certified Homeland Security registered Birth Certificate.
Drivers Licenses will also contain DNA biometric markers and include the holders Social Security Number and be required for receiving and applying for all State and Federal benefits programs. Previous Supreme Court rulings have also upheld State and Federal Law Enforcement authorities right to request Identification from any American citizen, for any reason and at any time as not being violations of their, the citizens, constitutionally protected rights.
Major Banks and credit card companies have applauded the adoption of a National ID system as being important to counter fraud and increasing instances of identity theft. National ID cards with biometric markers will eliminate them from having to issue Credit and Debit cards, which for the first time in US history have surpassed the usage of checks and cash. Utilizing The Department of Homeland Securities centralized federal database, Banks and credit card companies will only require the presentation of a citizens Driver’s License to make purchases as all of the persons financial information, including credit and cash balances, will already be known in ‘real time’. (The combining of Homeland Security and Banking databases on citizen’s balances and purchases, along with their past and present purchasing information, has been allowed under previous Federal Laws including the Patriot Act.)
Also included in this bill is a law to require The Department of Homeland Security to establish a separate ID system for citizens to use prior to boarding airplanes, and which is eerily reminiscent of the Soviet and Nazi regimes dreaded Internal Passport.
Never before in our history have the words of Benjamin Franklin been so correct when he stated: "people willing to trade their freedom for temporary security deserve neither and will lose both".
Today, December 9, 2004 will be one of those moments in time that future historians will look back on and pin point as being the day that the United States of American, and as it was founded by its forefathers, ceased to exist.