Corrupt bankers: "too big to prosecute", Single black unwed mother: life imprisonment for drugs.
The New York Times Editors this morning announced: "It is a dark day for the rule of law." There is, said the NYT editors, "no doubt that the wrongdoing at HSBC was serious and pervasive." But the bank is simply too big, too powerful, too important to prosecute.
That's not merely a dark day for the rule of law. It's a wholesale repudiation of it. The US government is expressly saying that banking giants reside outside of - above - the rule of law, that they will not be punished when they get caught red-handed committing criminal offenses for which ordinary people are imprisoned for decades. Aside from the grotesque injustice, the signal it sends is as clear as it is destructive: you are free to commit whatever crimes you want without fear of prosecution. And obviously, if the US government would not prosecute these banks on the ground that they're too big and important, it would - yet again, or rather still - never let them fail.
But this case is the opposite of an anomaly. That the most powerful actors should be immunized from the rule of law - not merely treated better, but fully immunized - is a constant, widely affirmed precept in US justice. It's applied to powerful political and private sector actors alike. Over the past four years, the CIA and NSA have received the same gift, as have top Executive Branch officials, as has the telecom industry, as has most of the banking industry.
|by Anonymous||reply 20||12/19/2012|
By coincidence, on the very same day that the DOJ announced that HSBC would not be indicted for its multiple money-laundering felonies, the New York Times published a story featuring the harrowing story of an African-American single mother of three who was sentenced to life imprisonment at the age of 27 for a minor drug offense:
"Stephanie George and Judge Roger Vinson had quite different opinions about the lockbox seized by the police from her home in Pensacola. She insisted she had no idea that a former boyfriend had hidden it in her attic. Judge Vinson considered the lockbox, containing a half-kilogram of cocaine, to be evidence of her guilt.
"But the defendant and the judge fully agreed about the fairness of the sentence he imposed in federal court.
"'Even though you have been involved in drugs and drug dealing,' Judge Vinson told Ms. George, 'your role has basically been as a girlfriend and bag holder and money holder but not actively involved in the drug dealing, so certainly in my judgment it does not warrant a life sentence.'
"Yet the judge had no other option on that morning 15 years ago. As her stunned family watched, Ms. George, then 27, who had never been accused of violence, was led from the courtroom to serve a sentence of life without parole.
"'I remember my mom crying out and asking the Lord why,' said Ms. George, now 42, in an interview at the Federal Correctional Institution in Tallahassee. 'Sometimes I still can't believe myself it could happen in America.'"
|by Anonymous||reply 1||12/12/2012|
The US eally is circling the drain.
|by Anonymous||reply 2||12/12/2012|
Can anyone here name names? Who are the malefactors, the individuals, not the companies, who are breaking the law with federally-sanctioned impunity?
|by Anonymous||reply 3||12/12/2012|
Guess she shouldn't have been into drugs.
|by Anonymous||reply 5||12/12/2012|
She is a danger to herself and society!
|by Anonymous||reply 6||12/12/2012|
[quote]"I remember my mom crying out and asking the Lord why," said Ms. George
Did the Lord answer?
|by Anonymous||reply 7||12/12/2012|
[quote]This is awful, but it's pretty rich coming from a British journalist who writes for a British paper. HSBC is a British bank. Why don't they clean up their own messes instead of complaining about America's problems?
You're right! This article and opinion should never have seen the light of day!
|by Anonymous||reply 9||12/12/2012|
Was her name Jean Valjean?
|by Anonymous||reply 10||12/12/2012|
I'd like to hear what Obama would have to say to that woman explaining why she deserves a life sentence while the banksters receive a Get Out of Jail Free card.
|by Anonymous||reply 11||12/13/2012|
HSBC is not British. It is owned by China.
|by Anonymous||reply 12||12/15/2012|
I agree money is law here, but I think it has always been that way. As we become older the fairy tales of youth fall away and we see life for what it is: nasty brutish and short. People on the whole are awful and society is a perverted mess. I also think it is becoming more apparent as people are not hiding it as the American Empire crumbles.
|by Anonymous||reply 13||12/15/2012|
It has not "always been that way" and it certainly doesn't have to be that way. You're being one of those morons in the "tax the rich" cartoon who said, "There is no other way."
|by Anonymous||reply 15||12/15/2012|
Glenn Greenwald is American. The Guardian is a global paper.
|by Anonymous||reply 16||12/15/2012|
No, it does not have to be that way, R15 but human nature means that it will always be that way. Name a time when there has not been the few on top exploiting the many on the bottom.
|by Anonymous||reply 17||12/15/2012|
Not all banks got off free, Lehmans was allowed to go under and Madoff was jailed!
|by Anonymous||reply 20||12/19/2012|