Thursday, June 13, 2002

John Doe #2

So now that the Islamic connection to the Murrah Building bombing threatens to break into the sunlight (again) and the true believers are claiming (again) that the Feds had this stuff before, they discounted it then, and what's the big deal. For those with a childlike belief in the purity of the motives of those running the Justice Department, this story never made any sense. Even now, the mainstream media are ignoring this story (again).

What one needs to understand, is the mentality of the (mostly) men who are responsible for the administration of justice in this country. It is not about justice. It is not about love of country. It is not about making the world a better place for the children to live.

It's only about winning.

I don't mean to say that there are NO U.S. Attorneys or FBI agents to whom the law is a sacred calling that they were drawn to all of their lives. What I have seen, however, is that power corrupts, and with time, as these people ascend the ladder of power in their careers, childish ideals like justice and making the world a better place are replaced by the need to acquire power, to pursue the career track, to get their ticket punched. Only victory is rewarded in the world they live in. Preventing a crime, improving a life, doing the right thing becomes subordinated to the need to ascend that ladder one more rung.

When they get a case, their strategy is all about winning. Federal prosecutions are usually a slam dunk, with most US Attorneys having a batting average in the high 90 percentile conviction rate. Their most common tactic is to overcharge the case and then make a deal with most of the co-defendants, which increases their chance of garnering a conviction on the 'target' still more. Remember when the feds convicted John Gotti? They had dozens of witnesses, hundreds of hours of incriminating tapes, and they still found it necessary and reasonable to give Sal Gravano, who admitted to 19 murders a new lease on life (he was freed a few weeks after the jury voted to convict) to help the prosecutors get a conviction on Mr. Gotti, who was accused of only 10 murders.

When McVeigh became the target of the feds, every other participant became a tool in the conviction victory plan. They almost cut a deal with Nichols. They did cut deals with several individuals who were involved. Extraneous items, like witnesses who remembered a third man with McVeigh and Nichols, or testimony about an Iraqi money connection, were buried and witheld from the defense. There is nothing new here.

Except, now it looks like John Doe #2, a man who did not fit into the FBI's neat plan, their "theory of the crime," may have been out there, planning his next terror act. Sal Gravano is back in jail for crimes he committed after the Gotti trial as well. This is just business as usual for the government.

The next thing to look out for is how the FBI buys the dirty bomb testimony. It is quite possible that Mr. Padilla committed no crime greater than that of losing his passport in Pakistan after changing his name.