defendant gets a fair hearing. Sure. When however, the investigation drags on long enough, and the press quietly drop the story, the public's anger dies down as anticipated. This tactic is always used in all serious cases like Watergate, or the Bhopal gas incident. Years can go by, the longer the better. But these are just the pretrial tactics carried out to give the media time enough to diffuse whatever bad impressions the general public might be harboring. If however, despite the media's cooperation a trial becomes necessary, then the real hijinks begin. The elite usually begin the farce by hand-picking a jury!!

Hand-picking the Jurors

This is perhaps the most ludicrous method used to subvert justice that has ever been devised. I speak of course of the jury system itself, the quality of which practically defines the system's level of justice. The Greek word for democracy translates literally as "equality before the law". Not surprisingly, the Greek jury voting system became a model for both America's popular voting system, but its legal jury system as well. The basis for its fairness, and the quality for which it won world acclaim, was its ability to judge a person by a large number of randomly chosen peers. Using an ingenious lottery system to choose its jurors, the Greeks chose from 201 to sometimes over 2000 jurors to cast votes.
The American jury voting system, on the other hand, is vastly inferior to its Greek counterpart. Instead of allowing 201 to 2000 or more peers to cast their votes, the Americans use only 12. Instead of them being randomly chosen from the population, jurors can now be hand-picked by the lawyers. In states like New York and Texas, lawyers are free to ask the jurors what books they read, what television programs they watch, etc., etc. Increasingly sociologists and psychologists are being called in by lawyers to assist in the selection of "friendly" jurors. Who needs to bribe jury members when you can help to hand-pick a "friendly" juror or two before the trial even begins.

These specialists will not only assist in the jury selection, they will, for clients with deep pockets, even recruit a surrogate jury with socioeconomic profiles similar to the actual jury members. The surrogates are paid to sit in the public gallery. At the end of the day's court session, the surrogates would be interrogated as to their reactions to the testimony given so far. Armed with these insights, the lawyers then modify their legal strategies accordingly. One California-based firm called Litigation Services already has a staff of 90. Its clients have included IBM, Pennzoil, and the makers of Agent Orange who are being sued on behalf of war veterans.

Both jury selection, and the monitoring of surrogate juries constitute such mockeries to justice, that it ought to be difficult to find a thinking person who does not have contempt for the court!!

Tactics in Court

There are, unfortunately, plenty of other reasons to feel contempt for the courts. Refusing to answer the court's questions by hiding behind the 5th Amendment has allowed many a Mafia king to walk free. Charles Keating in the S&L scam, is refusing to answer questions. Perhaps his name too will be added to the long list of peers who have walked free courtesy of the 5th Amendment.

Or, the lawyers get an opportunity to bargain between lawyers like judge and jury combined. They get to bargain for such things as pleading guilty to a much reduced charge. Plea bargaining must automatically lessen a person's guilt, because it sure as hell lessens the punishment.

The most unforgivable travesty of justice, however, has to be granting a criminal total immunity for giving evidence against someone else. Sounds like a script out of some perverse comedy instead of a system of justice that people around the world are expected to emulate. The potential for abuse is mind boggling especially when one includes a little covert bribery acceptable to both parties. Of course, when a lawyer is involved, bribery becomes plea bargaining, and in business it becomes "greenmail". But any fool ought to acknowledge that when plea bargaining waddles like injustice, and quacks like injustice, it's usually injustice.

For those who can afford to hire the most experienced and devious lawyers, finding legal technicalities to invalidate evidence or cause mistrials is yet another method of using the justice system to walk free. The list of tricks and methods seems endless. In any case, whether the defendant is found innocent or guilty often hinges on the experience and craftiness of one's lawyer. The richer you are, the more cunning a lawyer you can afford, the more chance you have of winning - regardless of whether you are innocent or guilty.

But let's follow a case right through to a conclusion.

Just before the hand-picked jury leaves the room to decide its verdict, the judge gets to give his "advice to the jury" speech. These are the last words spoken before the jury deliberates, and psychologically they will carry inordinate influence due to the authority that delivered them, in addition to the fact that they were the last words spoken. Conservatively speaking, here's another obvious opportunity to substantially influence the verdict.

And lastly, was Oliver North particularly worried that the jury would find him guilty? Not really, because the press had already prepared the public for a lenient sentence, as they always do when the need arises.

Lenient Sentences

Judges who are in a position to sentence privileged members of the establishment, (or their front men who face convictions), are not only able to impose suspended sentences and community service, but they can direct the offenders to minimum security prisons ...where the conditions and/or special treatment turns the detention center into something rivaling a fitness retreat. A 60 Minutes TV show coverage of the topic referred to one such detention center sarcastically but aptly as Club Fed. When the Watergate fall guys were not busy jogging into shape, or visiting with their families, they were hard at work on specially supplied equipment, ...writing their memoirs to make a few extra million.

Sample Watergate justice for the elite:

Example: John M. Mitchell (while Attorney General)
Convicted of: one count of conspiracy, obstruction of justice; one count of perjury; two counts of false statements to a grand jury.
Sentenced to: 19 months of confinement at an Alabama air force base. Health spa?
Example: Richard M. Nixon (while President, ...proven Watergate coconspirator)
Convicted of: absolutely nothing
Sentenced to: freedom to write a book to make him millions.

Note: Not surprisingly, the whitewash did not stop with the Nixon administration. With absolutely no authority or mandate to do so, President Gerald Ford, Nixon's successor, pardoned Richard Nixon of all crimes he had committed in office.

In one of his rare unscripted utterances, Mr. Reagan put it quite succinctly:

Politics is not a bad profession.
If you succeed there are many rewards, if you disgrace yourself you can always write a book.

The justice system is in such a farcical state now, that for most influential politicians, it doesn't seem to matter how much their guilt is exposed. Rarely do their wrong doings result in more than resignation, followed soon after by royalties on their subsequent books. As if that were not hideous enough, the media regularly rally to attempt to canonize the establishment's high echelon criminals, for their patriotism, ...usually during their hearings and trials.

Finishing Touches (Media Help, and the Appeals)

In Bill Moyers' book, The Secret Government, readers are exposed to the mechanics of a covert organization which operated out of the White House basement no less, and whose purpose was to keep the Contras in operation despite a Congressional ban forbidding the action. {B166} In short, the White House served as the center of operations to defy Congress and sell arms to the Iranians to make money to illegally fund the Contras. To make a long story short, even though the whole plot was fully exposed, the media together with the corrupted legal system managed to absolve Oliver North by putting patriotism on trial.

Specially orchestrated sound bytes and photo opportunities which praised and supported Oliver North and his actions were prepared and shown repeatedly over several weeks in an attempt to not only absolve "Ollie", (as he was affectionately referred to in the media), of blame and guilt, but to elevate him to the stature of a national hero, despite his shameless display of contempt for congressional and criminal law. This particular event involved so many of the nation's elite functionaries, that no less than the attorney general Edwin Meese was entrusted to oversee the investigation, ...(whitewash, paper shredding, & cover-up).

As champion of the elite, Oliver North was given a three year suspended sentence, two year's probation, a fine of $150,000 and was ordered to perform 1200 hours of community service. {B167} As his defense quite aptly shows, even when a CIA operative purposely breaks the law, and publicly admits to misleading and lying to Congress, the elite and friends of the elite are just a little more equal before the law than the rest of the nation.

Needless to say, anyone higher in the chain of command would be similarly immune from the law, whether or not threats are made to implicate superiors or whether any unobtainable top secret files are requested as vital for a fair defense. The public never gets to see the files or even know for sure that they exist, so no one can dispute the

{B166} Moyers, Bill. The Secret Government (USA: Seven Locks Press), 1987
{B167} "No jug for Ollie" The Economist (July 8 1989): p28