“I will insist that the Hebrews have done more to civilize man than any other nation.” [ Letter from John Adams to Thomas Jefferson]
Ask any native born Israeli if his government threatened to cease relations with the US, his response would be an adamant objection. The reasons given, typically follow an established pattern:
[a] Shared values of the two nations.
[b] Political inspiration, financial and military assistance plus diplomatic support.
[c] Recognition that there is no alliance in the world today more durable and multi faceted than that between the US and Israel.
[d] The need for extensive strategic, political and military cooperation.
[e] American aid, intelligence sharing, joint military exercises, and a mutual commitment to defending democracy. Aid to Israel comes in different forms, including grants, special project allocations and loans.
[f ]Being recognized as a strategic asset by President Ronald Reagan.
[g] Israel is the only Middle Eastern country where the American flag is rarely (if ever) burned in protest – indeed, some Israelis fly that flag on their own independence day.
In many instances, Americans found commonness with Israeli interests . This extends beyond the White House and Capitol Hill. Broad segments of the American public recognize the similarity, not necessarily total identity, the core values, the historical legacy and ethos, social composition, vision of the future, ideological beliefs, between the two countries.
John Adams wrote: “I really wish the Jews again in Judea an independent nation for, as I believe, the most enlightened men of it have participated in the amelioration of the philosophy of the age.”
John Quincy Adams wrote to Major Mordechai Noah that he believed in the “rebuilding of judea as an independent nation.”
President Wilson expressed his support for the Balfour Declaration, when he stated on March 3,1919, “The allied nations, with the fullest concurrence of our government and people, are agreed that in Palestine shall be laid the foundations of a Jewish Commonwealth.”
Secretary of State, George Shultz, was given to comment, “The United States supports Israel, not because of favoritism based on political pressure or influence, but because both political parties and virtually all our national leaders agree with the American people’s view that supporting Israel is politically sound and morally just.”
The joint Congressional resolutions of 1922 and 1944 unanimously passed an endorsement of the Balfour Declaration. The house Foreign Affairs Committee stated in 1922:
“The Jews of America are profoundly interested in establishing, a National Home in the ancient land for their race. Indeed, this is the ideal of the Jewish people, everywhere, for, despite their dispersion, Palestine has been the object of their veneration, since they were expelled by the Romans. For generations, they have prayed for the return to Zion. During the past century, this prayer has assumed practical form.”
Today, the common values extends to homeland security, counter terrorism, economic relations, national historical experiences, cooperative space programs, strategic military cooperation and high-tech R and D cooperation.
The dark side of this exposé reveals how democracy can utterly fail in both America and Israel. In the western world, one grows up with an understanding of the superiority of representative democracy over parliamentary democracy. Now, thanks to an exceptional advocate of the law and an outstanding author, American Sidney Powell, we are reminded of a period when under the guise of representative government, innocent individuals were indicted. A period when whole companies were forced into closure for no good reasons and innocent individuals were driven to committing suicide. Her highly acclaimed book, “Licensed to Lie – Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice” covers the given subject fully.
Sidney Powell is an attorney specializing in federal appeals. She has been lead counsel in more than 500 appeals in the US Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, 350 of them as an Assistant United States Attorney and Appellate Section Chief in the Western and Northern Districts of Texas. She is a past president of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, the Bar Association of the Fifth Federal Circuit, and a member of the American Law Institute. It was from her experience in several high profile cases, seeing a core group of federal prosecutors break all the rules, make up crimes, hide evidence and send innocent people to prison, that she felt compelled to author the subject 436 page book.
The book provides an insight into an unimagined perspective of justice and who should be accountable when evidence is withheld and prosecutors break the law. It reveals the strong-arm, illegal and unethical tactics used by headline-grabbing federal prosecutors, in their sick pursuit of power to the highest halls of US government. Its truth remains unchallenged, so much so that surprisingly no law suits have been filed against the author.
The introductory words by Alex Kozinsky, Chief Judge United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, serves very well, for the masterpiece which follows. Prosecutors are the representatives “—not of an ordinary party to a controversy, but of a sovereignty whose obligation to govern impartially is as compelling as its obligation to govern at all: and whose interest, therefore, in a criminal prosecution is not that it should win a case, but that justice shall be done” .
Sidney Powell reveals how an institution created to protect the innocent and punish the guilty was transformed into a house of legal horrors, the framing of an innocent man, the concealing and altering of evidence, the blatant disregard of the law, the flouting of political power, the constant display of an ego-driven desire to win at all costs, even by means of lying, which resulted in the devastation of a good family, who was shocked by the despotic evilness of a government, suddenly and completely in charge of their lives.
In Chapter 1, Powell focuses on two key characters, Nicholas Marsh, age 37, a prosecutor who had worked for the elite Public Integrity Section of the Criminal Division of the United States Department of Justice and Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska. She draws attention to the practice of prosecutors deliberately suppressing evidence that reflects the innocence of a defendant. According to her, this practice is rampant, despite the prosecutors’ constitutional duty to disclose such evidence. As examples of the havoc this practice generates, Powell discuses the prosecution of former Alaska senator Ted Stevens and the work of the Federal Special Task Force appointed in the wake of the financial collapse of Enron in 2001.
Stevens was a decorated war hero in WW2, a living legend in Alaska and a former US attorney, who has lost his seat of more than 40 years in the US Senate after being found guilty by a jury a year earlier for failing to report alleged gifts on senate forms. However, subsequently it was found that he was innocent as it became known that the prosecutors from the Public Integrity Section of the Department of Justice had broken ethical rules, disregarded court orders, and violated constitutional law while they hid evidence favorable to his defense called “Brady material”.
On August 10, 2010, Stevens was involved in airplane crash and did not survive. The news of the Senator’s untimely death brought attention once more to his corrupt prosecution and dominated the news for the next several days. Almost all mentioned the injustice of his prosecution and the misconduct of his prosecutors. His partners recognized his innocence and insisted in fighting the charges.
They declared, “He remained profoundly affected by the government’s misconduct and its implications for others.” His hope was that in time, revisions would be introduced to prevent a reoccurrence to others.
The senator’s death had a profound effect on Nicholas Marsh. This feeling and the thought that he would lose his career and possibly his liberty made him feel as if had lost his soul. He knew the truth. When it all fell apart, he and his fellow trial team members became the targets of both an internal and department investigation. He knew that the life he loved as a federal prosecutor was over. Six weeks after the demise of Stevens, on September 26, 2010, Marsh elected to hang himself in the recreational room of his home.
Sadly, when the US Supreme Court finally reversed unanimously overturned accounting firm Arthur Anders Andersen’s conviction of obstruction of justice in the fraudulent activities and subsequent collapse of Enron in 2005,it was beyond the time of the many tragedies fully accounted for in Powell’s extraordinary book.
Sidney Powell’s book is a testament to the human will to struggle against overwhelming odds to right a wrong. Candidly, at the conclusion of her book, she notes, “As for me, I question deeply whether I can continue to practice law. I have lost trust and faith that most of the Fifth Circuit judges will do the tedious work, keep an open mind, put ideology aside, rule based solely on law, and ferret out the true facts in the most difficult cases if it means ruling against the government. If one can be heartbroken by a court, I can?”
What Sidney Powell has unconsciously demonstrated is that despite the superiority of representative democracy, it can fail when accountability, is not demanded by the public.
What then, can be the expectations for Israel, a country that selected parliamentary democracy at its onset? Here again, for objectivity, a recorded case history will suffice. The example chosen involves an American student, who as a part of a group went on a hike into the Judean desert collapsed and died from exhaustion. A case was opened to determine whether the death constituted negligent homicide. The negligent homicide investigation related to the unexplained death of the student. Ultimately the case was closed without questioning a single witness.
This was rather strange as numerous individuals were in a position to assist as witnesses. In legal circles, the importance of witnesses constitutes an essential item in the administration of justice. By giving evidence linking to the charge of the offense, a witness performs a sacred duty of assisting the court to discover the truth. The witness performs an important public duty of assisting the court in deciding on the guilt or otherwise of the accused in the case. This is particularly so where no written statements are available in instances of contrary statements being made by defendant and plaintiff.
In Israel, it is known that closed investigations are rarely reopened one time, let alone 3 times, once the original prosecutor on the case has closed it for “insufficient evidence.” In another case, where there was no death involved, but somewhat similar in most cases, particularly no witnesses, the request for reopening the case was absolutely refused.
Requests made to the Justice Minister, the Security [Police] Minister and the Attorney-General for assistance, were not graced with a reply. No accountability is the hallmark of parliamentary democracy.
Arye Rattner Phd. has penned a useful paper entitled, “The Sanctity of Criminal Law – Thoughts and reflections on wrongful conviction in Israel.” For some reason, he has excluded wrongful doing by no conviction where indicated.
Rattner has observed that the Israeli Supreme Court places considerable importance on the attitude and the recommendation of the Attorney General regarding a request for a retrial. He also notes that the criminal law in Israel suffers from many deficiencies and from ” a great deal of unwillingness to admit its own errors to an extent that make some of us wonder about the sanctity of the criminal law.” In answer to his question, ” What can be done?”, one can readily proclaim – replace parliamentary democracy with representative democracy. In this manner all public officials would be accountable to the citizens and their hubris will be removed.