Archive for the Corrupt judge Category

NSA collecting phone records of millions of Verizon customers daily [Guardian]

Posted in Bourgeois parliamentary democracy, Corrupt judge, National Security Agency / NSA, NSA, Obama, Police State, US Government Cover-up, USA on June 7, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

– Exclusive: Top secret court order requiring Verizon to hand over all call data shows scale of domestic surveillance under Obama –

by Glenn Greenwald

6 June 2013

The National Security Agency is currently collecting the telephone records of millions of US customers of Verizon, one of America’s largest telecoms providers, under a top secret court order issued in April…

Full article link:

(c) Guardian News & Media Ltd

Also see: “Obama administration collecting phone records of tens of millions of Americans” by Joseph Kishore [World Socialist Website]


Democracy in America today (I) – Russia joins China in attacking US “human rights” propaganda [Strategic Culture Foundation]

Posted in China, Corrupt judge, Guantanamo Bay concentration camp, Russia, US Agency for International Development, US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA, USA 21st Century Cold War, USSR on November 11, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Nov. 3, 2012

Washington believes that one of the achievements of its propaganda and diplomatic machinery was that after a meeting in Helsinki in 1975, they managed to make the so-called «third basket» which in the main placed emphasis on human rights. Decade after decade, the United States used the «third basket» as an important weapon of foreign policy influence. Tectonic upheavals happened in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union in the late 80’s and 90’s. The twentieth century convinced the Americans of the effectiveness of the chosen instrument… In the end; Washington began to claim almost a monopoly in the field of human rights and the role of final arbiter in determining who is observing them, and who is not. And the more accusations put forward about others, the more hobbled became America`s own practice in this area. Claims to an absolute right, are absolutely ruined by absolute power. Russia has tried to respond to the constant assaults in this regard, but sluggishly, working on the principle: «You do not touch us, and we will not touch you». And then, finally, it looks like the ice broke.

On October 22, 2012 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation presented the first special report on the human rights situation in the United States, and brought it to be heard in the State Duma. The strength of the document is that it refers to the systemic problems facing American society, and this is all illustrated by convincing examples. The report presented by the Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov stressed, «That the treatment of human rights in the U.S. are is far from perfect, and even sometimes resemble [sic] something from another era».

Among the most important challenges facing America are growing social inequality, discrimination on racial, ethnic and religious grounds, the practice of indefinite detention without charges, judicial bias, prisons operating outside of the law, torture, the impact of government agencies on court processes, a poor penal system, the denial of freedom of speech, Internet censorship, legalized corruption, lack of electoral rights of citizens, intolerance based on race and ethnicity, the violation of children’s rights, the extraterritorial application of U.S. law, leading to human rights violations in other countries, kidnapping , tracking dissidents, disproportionate use of force against peaceful demonstrators, the use of the death penalty against minors and the mentally ill, etc. The international legal obligations of the United States, continue to be limited to participation in only three of the nine core human rights agreements, and providing human rights monitoring mechanisms. The U.S. has not ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women in 1979, the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989, the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and their families in 1990, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2006 and the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, 2006.

When forced to answer rather sarcastic questions from one of the Russian liberal papers over the fact that previously, say, Russia considered the subject to be an interference in internal affairs, and now, she does it too, Mr. K. Dolgov, Commissioner for Human Rights Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the main architect of the report, said that, “the main idea is that Americans continue to wrongfully position themselves as the absolute authority and unquestioned leader in the field of democracy and human rights. They are engaged in mentoring and trying to teach others how to build their democracies and ensure human rights. They do it often rudely ignoring the basic international law of the principle of state sovereignty. Often their attempts to take care of human rights in other countries are bordering on outright interference in internal affairs. Russia also faces this problem. This, in particular, is one of the reasons why the decision was made to wrap up the operations of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in Russia. At the same time, according to the report, the human rights situation for Americans remains very difficult.

It should be recognized that the priority in having the audacity in speaking to America about this and what others «always thought, but were afraid to ask,» still belongs not to Russia, but to China. After many years of the Americans reporting on human rights in China, Beijing promptly submitted its scrupulous and scathing analysis of how the situation is in the US in this sensitive area. As a result, in the relationship between America and China, this topic is present mainly in propaganda, but is practically nonexistent in inter-state relations. It is enough for some American to raise the subject at any level of negotiations, for him to be immediately handed a huge Chinese tome translated into English of US sins, with a counter offer to talk about it. And, actually, why not? It acts like a magic cure, and the Americans’ enthusiasm soon evaporates. It is certainly an instructive example.

The first U.S. reaction to the Russian report proceeded along the same scenario. On 23 October at a regular briefing State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland answering a question about the report, said that the text was not known to her, but the appearance of such studies are welcome, as the U.S. is an «open book» seeking to improve its society. This is commendable, except that she «closed» the report, without even opening it….

At a State Duma hearing on human rights in the U.S., an ambassador of this country well known as a theoretician and practitioner of human rights, Michael McFaul was invited. However, he did not attend, and that is very significant. Whilst hosting numerous comments on all issues in his blog and on Twitter, on this subject the Ambassador is silent. Did he lose his interest? Or did he not expect to hear anything new about the human rights situation in his own country? This suggests that either he is well aware of the existing violations and finds it simply shameful, or he does not want to hear anything about them, and this is hypocritical. The ability not to be able to see the wood for the trees is a characteristic feature of many generations of American politicians.

Doublethink (coined by George Orwell in his novel 1984) has been intrinsic to them since the founding fathers. George Washington, for example, the so called “herald of freedom and democracy», was a planter and slave owner, who kept in the basement of his house a prison with instruments of torture for misbehaving slaves (it has been recently excavated by archaeologists) and sent expeditions to different parts of the country to catch runaway Negroes that belonged to him personally. This duality of American democracy drew the attention of Alexis de Tocqueville.

A number of publications in the U.S. responded to the report in a spirit of «propaganda». Thus, the «Los Angeles Times» says that the «tone, vocabulary and spirit» of the document submitted to the State Duma, «is reminiscent of propaganda attacks of the cold war era». The newspaper did not even try to refute or dismantle even one given fact or conclusion. But if assessing the publication of the report in Russia on human rights in the U.S. shows a return to the cold war, it turns out that for the U.S. itself that war never ended.

But Fred Weir, the long time correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor in Moscow, believes that the report is «well-documented» and «professionally written». Mainly it is based on U.S. non-governmental and academic sources and the issues raised «are quite familiar to any well-informed Americans». The Russian are not trying to say something new to America, writes Fred Weir, they want to encourage her to change her point of view and look at Russia without prejudice. They broaden the debate by pointing out that before lecturing others; the United States should resolve their own numerous problems. In the past, said Weir, the Soviet propaganda machine also tried to use this method, but rather unsuccessfully. Now Moscow’s response is much more ambitious. The Russians really feel that the American perception of them is far from correct. Also the American correspondent noticed the desire from the Russian side to move the debate «behind closed doors». And this is an echo of its past approaches which proved to be ineffective. For the White House this move just does not make sense, since the theme of human rights is a tool, not an end policy in itself. It is useless to urge the Americans to give up their decades of proven tools; they can only be confronted by self [sic] action. The Foreign Affairs Report is a worthy and successful example of such action. In pursuing the stated positions, firmness and consistency are important not only in terms of the effective management of information warfare, but also to confirm the equality of rights of states as members of the international community. For it is impossible to ensure equal respect for human rights in the world, if equal rights are not respected, including freedom of speech, in the countries in which «these people» live.

So you have made a claim? Be so kind as to listen to the reply and counterclaims. Every time, without exceptions. Refusal is the application of inequality, which is also a form of violation of the rights of individuals and the states representing them, the fact is that «all sides must be heard» Audiatur et altera pars is the basic principle of democracy.

Excerpted by Zuo Shou

Article link, including original footnotes:

“Democracy in America Today” Parts II [III, IV]:

(To be continued)

“Why the world’s most powerful prosecutor should resign: Part 2” – Luis Moreno-Ocampo, ICC kangaroo court head’s unethical persecution of whistleblower results in ICC payout, related to “sexual coercion” incident [Telegraph / Sweet & Sour Socialism Essential Archives]

Posted in Corrupt judge on September 30, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Joshua Rozenberg

14 Sep 2008

* Excerpted *

…the case that has electrified staff at the International Criminal Court involved allegations put to an internal panel of judges that Mr Moreno-Ocampo himself was guilty of sexual misconduct…what did happen, according to an external tribunal, was a “breach of due process” for which that tribunal held Mr Moreno-Ocampo personally responsible.

The matter was so serious that a member of staff who “blew the whistle” by making an internal complaint against Mr Moreno-Ocampo — and who was then sacked by him — is to receive nearly £20,000 in “moral damages”, as well as compensatory damages approaching £100,000. Damages and costs are to be paid not by the prosecutor but by the International Criminal Court itself…

…The story began nearly two years ago when Christian Palme, 56, a media spokesman in the prosecutor’s office, submitted an internal staff complaint alleging that Mr Moreno-Ocampo had engaged in “improper conduct” with a female journalist from South Africa while on an official mission to the country. Mr Palme claimed that the prosecutor “had taken that journalist’s car keys and would not return them to her unless she agreed to sexual intercourse”.

According to the whistle-blower, Mr Moreno-Ocampo had “committed serious misconduct … by committing the crime of rape, or sexual assault, or sexual coercion, or sexual abuse”.

This misconduct had caused serious harm to the standing of the court, Mr Palme maintained, and for this reason he submitted that the prosecutor should be removed from office by the court’s member states, which include Britain.

Mr Palme’s internal complaint was accompanied by an audio recording of a telephone conversation between the alleged victim and one of Mr Palme’s colleagues, the Geneva tribunal noted in its ruling last week.

“The alleged victim sounded distressed and denied that she had been forced to have sexual intercourse but did not deny that she had consented in order to regain possession of her keys,” the ruling said. “She indicated unambiguously that the prosecutor ‘took [her] keys’ and that she had consented to sexual intercourse ‘to get out of [the situation]’”

…A month or so after Mr Palme’s complaint was dismissed by the panel of judges, he was suspended for three months. That was in January 2007. In April, he heard that the prosecutor had decided to dismiss him, summarily and immediately, for “serious misconduct”.

…Mr Palme appealed to the court’s internal disciplinary advisory board. In its report last summer, the board concluded that the decision to sack Mr Palme had been procedurally flawed on the grounds that the prosecutor [Moreno-Ocampo] should not have participated personally in the decision-making process. The board also found that the prosecutor had not established that Mr Palme had acted “with obvious malicious intent”. For these reasons, it recommended that Mr Palme should have his job back.

But Mr Moreno-Ocampo decided not to follow this recommendation. Instead, he confirmed Mr Palme’s dismissal…

…”It is a fundamental aspect of due process that a person should not take a decision in a matter in which he or she has a personal interest,” the tribunal said. “The prosecutor had a direct personal interest in establishing that the internal complaint against him had been made falsely and maliciously.”

But tribunal said there had been no need for Mr Moreno-Ocampo to take the decision himself. “He could have delegated the power in the present case.”

This “breach of due process” was a “serious infringement” of Mr Palme’s rights, the tribunal concluded. “It was compounded by the prosecutor’s action in maintaining his decision in the face of the internal memorandum from the presidency [of the court] indicating that there had been no finding of bad faith or malice and contrary to the recommendation of the disciplinary advisory board.”

The role of a prosecutor is to assess accurately the available evidence. The duty of a decision-maker is to withdraw from a case in which he has a personal interest. On the tribunal’s findings, Mr Moreno-Ocampo has failed to meet these two fundamental responsibilities.

A prosecutor who seeks to bring a president to justice must have judgment of the highest order. On the strength of these findings, Mr Moreno-Ocampo does not.

I repeat what I said here on July 3: he should resign immediately.

Full article:

US Supreme Court gives green light to warrant-less searches of homes [World Socialist Web Site]

Posted in "War on Drugs" pretext, Corrupt judge, Historical myths of the US, Police, Police State, USA on May 28, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

A stunning federal legal development, what’s more stunning is how it’s happened in virtual silence. The Constitution in it’s practical application hardly protects citizens from the government at all anymore, barely a fig leaf over a police state. Soon the only rights “we” US citizens will have is to accuse other nations of…lacking human rights. – Zuo Shou

By Tom Carter
19 May 2011

A decision Monday by the US Supreme Court represents a further major step in abolishing the basic civil liberties protections in the Bill of Rights and enhancing the arbitrary powers of the police. The decision permits police to conduct searches of private homes without a warrant under a mundane pretext.

The issue in the case, Kentucky v. King, decided 8-1, was whether the police should have obtained a search warrant before they kicked in the door of Hollis Deshaun King’s apartment, conducted a search, and found marijuana. King was sentenced to 11 years in prison.

The Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution, enacted in 1791 in the aftermath of the American Revolution, guarantees to the people “[t]he right … to be secure in their houses… against unreasonable searches and seizures.” The Fourth Amendment also requires that police seek the authorization of a neutral judge, in the form of a warrant, before undertaking a search or seizure. To obtain the warrant, the police are required to demonstrate “probable cause.”

The Fourth Amendment, together with the Third Amendment, which prohibits the government from quartering soldiers in private homes, arose out of a profound hatred and resentment towards arbitrary government intrusions into the home, as well as an understanding that protection of the privacy of the home is necessary to political freedom.

The US Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson wrote in 1948 that the Fourth Amendment requirement that the government obtain a warrant to conduct a search is among the “fundamental distinctions between our form of government, where officers are under the law, and the police-state where they are the law.”

In King’s case, no warrant was ever issued. The police, including an undercover officer, followed a person they believed was carrying drugs to King’s apartment complex, where one officer said he “smelled marijuana” outside King’s home. The officers, who had no warrant to search King’s apartment, decided not to seek a warrant and instead pounded loudly on the door, shouting “This is the police! Police! Police! Police!”

After not receiving an answer and hearing vaguely described “noises” coming from inside, the officers broke the door down, searched the apartment, and arrested King, his girlfriend, and a guest. As it turned out, the person the police had been following never entered King’s home.

Over the past several decades, the US Supreme Court has made Swiss cheese out of the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement, inventing myriad exceptions that together nearly swallow the rule. These exceptions cover a wide range of scenarios. Warrant-less searches of automobiles and warrant-less “frisks” of suspects, for example, have been tolerated for decades.

A number of “exigent circumstances” have already been found to justify a warrant-less search of a home. For example, police in “hot pursuit” may follow a suspect into his home, and police may also enter if they believe they can prevent “imminent injury.” Even so, the home remained one of the last places where the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement had any practical force. As recently as 2006, the Supreme Court wrote that “searches and seizures inside a home without a warrant are presumptively unreasonable.”

At his trial, King argued that the evidence discovered during the search of his apartment should be suppressed because the entry by police into his home was warrant-less and illegal. The trial court and the Kentucky Court of Appeals found that the search was legal despite the absence of a warrant, citing the “need to prevent destruction of evidence” as an “exigent circumstance” justifying the absence of a warrant.

The Kentucky Supreme Court reversed, suggesting that the officers “deliberately created the exigent circumstances with bad faith intent to avoid the warrant requirement.” The Kentucky Supreme Court further declared that the police could not rely on an exigency if “it was reasonably foreseeable that [police] investigative tactics … would create exigent circumstances.”

The “police-created exigency” doctrine, developed by the Kentucky Supreme Court as well as a number of other courts around the country, prevented police from deliberately manufacturing circumstances that would justify a warrant-less search, where the police could just have easily have obtained a warrant.

All but one justice on the US Supreme Court, including the erstwhile “liberal” Obama appointees Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, joined in the decision to eviscerate the “police-created exigency” doctrine.

The majority decision, authored by Samuel Alito, drips with dishonesty. For example, according to Alito, the police officers were not necessarily demanding entry into King’s apartment, in violation of the Fourth Amendment, when they pounded on the door without a warrant. “There is no evidence of a ‘demand’ of any sort,” Alito wrote. Perhaps, Alito suggests, the police merely wished “to speak with the occupants … before deciding whether it [was] worthwhile to seek authorization for a search.” Or perhaps, wrote Alito, the police wanted to ask King whether he would consent to a search.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in her brief dissent, makes clear that this decision will have devastating immediate consequences. “The Court today arms the police with a way routinely to dishonor the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement in drug cases,” she wrote. ”In lieu of presenting their evidence to a neutral magistrate, police officers may now knock, listen, then break the door down, never mind that they had ample time to obtain a warrant.”

In other words, for all practical purposes, all a police officer has to do in order to search a person’s house without a warrant is approach the front door, knock, listen, and then announce, “I think evidence is being destroyed!” Then the police may break down the door and search the house.

To anyone who has a brain and who is not one of the eight Supreme Court justices who joined the majority opinion, Alito’s reasoning will not pass the laugh test. Everyone knows that that a police officer is “demanding” entry when he, as the police officer did in this case, starts pounding “as loud as [he] could” on the front door and yelling, “This is the police! Police! Police! Police!”…

…But there is more to the Kentucky v. King decision than the patently ludicrous arguments of Alito and company. A central role of the US judiciary historically has been to act as a check on the executive branch, ensuring that from the president down to the sheriff, the executive operates within the bounds of the law. The Fourth Amendment warrant requirement is a central feature of that framework.

In a host of recent decisions, all of which in one way or another purport to show “deference” to the executive, whether for reasons of “national security,” “state secrets,” or the “exigencies” of police work, the Supreme Court is abandoning any effort to restrain the exercise of executive power. These decisions, taken together, effectively relegate a US judge to the same role as a judge in a police state, who functions merely as an after-the-fact rubber stamp for executive decisions.

This ruling enhances the arbitrary powers of the police and makes the security and privacy of the home even more dependent on the subjective whims of individual police officers…

Edited by Zuo Shou

Full article here:

Grieving mum screams at convicted US judge, becomes symbol of “cash-for-kids’ juvenile imprisonment scandal []

Posted in Corrupt judge, USA on February 26, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Feb. 23, 2011

by Michael Rubinkam


Sandy Fonzo hadn’t planned on confronting the Pennsylvania judge whom she blames for robbing her late son of his chance at a happy, productive life.

Her emotional…outburst last week – caught on video and spread over the Internet – has come to symbolise the anger felt by parents whose children were railroaded by Mark Ciavarella, the former Luzerne County judge convicted Friday of racketeering in a US$2.8 million "kids for cash" plot to send youth offenders to for-profit detention centres.

Fonzo’s son was 17 and an all-star wrestler with a chance at a college scholarship when he landed in Ciavarella’s courtroom on a minor drug paraphernalia charge.  Though the teen, Edward Kenzakoski, had no prior criminal record, he spent months at the private lockups…and missed his senior year of high school.

Kenzakoski emerged an angry, bitter and depressed young man.  He committed suicide last June at the age of 23…

Full article here

“U.S. Justice v. the world” – Jose Padilla’s legal nightmare exposes USA’s class-based injustice [Glenn Greenwald / Salon]

Posted in Corrupt judge, Glenn Greenwald @ Salon, Torture, US "War on Terror", US imperialism, USA on February 19, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

February 18, 2011

by Glenn Greenwald

…we now have a multi-tiered justice system in the [US] where citizens have their legal rights, obligations and punishments determined exclusively by their status and class.  Thus…Jose Padilla, in the lowest class of literal non-person (accused Terrorist), has virtually no chance regardless of the merits of his claims against someone like Donald Rumsfeld, who resides in the highest and most privileged class (high-level political official)… the court yesterday ruled "that Donald Rumsfeld is above the law and Jose Padilla is beneath it."  That’s just what the American justice system is…

Full article here

US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas violated conflict of interest law [World Socialist Web Site]

Posted in Bourgeois parliamentary democracy, Corrupt judge, George W. Bush, Obama, USA on February 3, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手
By Tom Eley
27 January 2011

Over the course of 21 years, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas repeatedly broke a government ethics law requiring that federal employees disclose their spouse’s income and employers, an open government advocacy group, Common Cause, reported last week.

In response, Thomas on Monday filed papers admitting his wife, Virginia “Ginnie” Thomas, was gainfully employed by right-wing and pro-corporate lobbying groups.  Thomas sought to alter financial disclosure forms going as far back as 1989, two years before he joined the high court.

The revelations illustrate the advanced rot of the American judicial system and the control that corporate money wields over the highest court in the land.  Thomas and another right-wing justice, Antonin Scalia, trample upon basic precepts of the judicial system—non-partisanship, court impartiality and the rule of law—with impunity, safe in the knowledge they will be shielded by the Obama administration and the court’s liberal wing.

Virginia Thomas, an outspoken Republican and widely regarded as the most partisan Supreme Court spouse in the institution’s history, was paid $686,589 from 2003 to 2007 by the right-wing Heritage Foundation, according to Internal Revenue Service tax filings.  It is not yet known how much she was paid between 1998, when she was first hired by Heritage Foundation, and 2002.  It is also not known how much she was paid in 2008 by right-wing Hillsdale College of Michigan for heading up its Washington D.C. constitutional law program.  She earlier worked as a lobbyist for the US Chamber of Commerce and as a congressional aid to former Texas Republican Dick Armey, who is now a leading figure in the Tea Party movement.

In 2009 Virginia Thomas launched Liberty Central, another right-wing lobbying group closely linked to the Tea Party, the supposedly “grass roots” political movement funded with tens of millions from billionaires Charles and David Koch.  Liberty Central was endowed by an undisclosed donor with $550,000, and a Koch Industries lobbyist, Matt Schlapp, was installed on its five-member board of directors.

In October 2010, it was revealed that Clarence Thomas and Scalia each spoke at secretive political strategy sessions hosted by Koch Industries, the second largest privately-held corporation in the US. According to a letter describing the events, entitled “Understanding and Addressing Threats to American Free Enterprise and Prosperity,” “participants committed [themselves] to an unprecedented level of support” in order for Republicans to win in the midterm elections. Scalia and Thomas have admitted their presence at these events but not when they attended, which could have had a bearing on then-pending Supreme Court cases.

Clarence Thomas continues to insist that his wife was not paid anything for this work at Liberty Central, according to the revised conflict-of-interest forms he filed Monday.  He brazenly claims that the falsification of his wife’s employment status on the conflict-of-interest forms was an innocent mistake, saying it was “inadvertently omitted due to a misunderstanding of the filing instructions," in a letter to the Supreme Court office that submits the financial disclosure forms.

The claim that Thomas could have made such an error—which required him to fill in with pencil a specific box claiming his wife had no income over $1,000—is absurd on its face. Under a section of the form entitled “spousal noninvestment income,” each year for more than a decade Thomas checked a box labeled “none.”  This is not “omission,” but an out-and-out lie.

"Justice Thomas sits on the highest court of the land, is called upon daily to understand and interpret the most complicated legal issues of our day and makes decisions that affect millions,” said Common Cause president Bob Edgar.  “It is hard to see how he could have misunderstood the simple directions of a federal disclosure form. We find his excuse is implausible.”

“It wasn’t a miscalculation; he simply omitted his wife’s source of income for six years, which is a rather dramatic omission,” said Stephen Gillers of New York University law school. “It could not have been an oversight.”

The fact that Thomas could be paid, through his wife, hundreds of thousands, and perhaps millions, of dollars by Republican-affiliated pro-corporate lobbying groups delegitimizes hundreds of important cases argued before the Supreme Court.  Many of these decisions were ultimately decided in the right wing’s favor by 5-4 margins, including the infamous Bush vs. Gore decision stopping vote-counting in Florida and handing the 2000 presidential election to George W. Bush, and last year’s Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission case, which overturned decades of campaign finance law and opened the floodgates to secret corporate donations to political candidates.

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