Sunday, November 06, 2011

Wikileaks Targets Honduran Mogul as Drug-Dealer

By William Fisher

Honduras’s wealthiest businessman is suspected of being heavily involved in importing drugs to his country – and using US “war-on-drugs” money and resources since 2004 to train his private security force to keep his operation secret and to drive peasants off their land to make room for further expansion of his commercial interests.

This is the picture that emerges from several Wikileaks cables, combined with the testimony of a Honduras expert who is a professor at the University of California in Santa Cruz.

The professor is Dr. Dana Frank. She is a recognized authority on Honduras and author of a number of books on the subject.

The Honduran businessman is Miguel Facussé, a biofuels magnate whose private security guards, Frank says, “work closely with the Honduran military and police, which receive generous funding from the United States to fight the war on drugs in the region.”

Frank claims “new Wikileaks cables now reveal that the US embassy in
Honduras—and therefore the State Department—has known since 2004 that Miguel Facussé is a cocaine importer. US ‘drug war’ funds and training, in other words, are being used to support a known drug trafficker’s war against campesinos.”

In an article in The Nation magazine, Frank says Miguel Facussé Barjum, “in the (US) embassy’s words, is ‘the wealthiest, most powerful businessman in the country’, one of the country’s ‘political heavyweights’. The New York Times recently described him as ‘the octogenarian patriarch of one of the handful of families controlling much of Honduras’ economy’.”

Facussé’s nephew, Carlos Flores Facussé, served as president of Honduras from 1998 to 2002. Miguel Facussé’s Dinant corporation is a major producer of palm oil, snack foods, and other agricultural products. He was one of the key supporters of the military coup that deposed democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya on
June 28, 2009.

Prof. Frank explains that Facussé’s power base lies in the lower Aguán Valley, where campesinos originally settled in the 1970s as part of an agrarian reform strategy by the Honduran government, which encouraged hundreds of successful campesino cooperatives and collectives in the region. Beginning in 1992, though, new neoliberal governments began promoting the transfer of their lands to wealthy elites, who were quick to take advantage of state support to intimidate and coerce campesinos into selling, and in some cases to acquire land through outright fraud.

Facussé, the biggest beneficiary by far of these state policies, now claims at least 22,000 acres in the lower Aguán, at least one-fifth of the entire area, much of which he has planted in African palms for an expanding biofuel empire.

Campesino living standards in the region, meanwhile, have eroded dramatically. In December 2009 thousands of organized campesinos began staging collective recuperations of lands in the lower Aguán that they argue were stolen from them, or else legally promised to them by the government through previous agreements or edicts.

The campesinos’ efforts have been met with swift and brutal retaliation.
According to Committee of Families of the Detained and Disappeared of Honduras (COFADEH), the independent, highly respected human rights group, at least forty-four have been killed, at least sixteen this past summer alone.

According to a recent statement by Human Rights Watch calling
for investigation, no one has been arrested or prosecuted for any of these

Many of these killings and related attacks have been attributed to Miguel
Facussé’s private security guards, as well those of his associates. Known
locally as sicarios or hired assassins, they wear either plainclothes or Grupo
Dinant uniforms and are reported to number between 200 and 300. Facussé himself admits that on November 15, 2010, his guards shot and killed five campesinos from the MUCA at the El Tumbador community.

A July 2011 report from a joint fact-finding mission from the World Council of Churches, Foodfirst Information and Action Network (FIAN) International, and other international groups on the killings of campesinos in the Aguán, states: “In all cases, according to witnesses and members of the peasant movements, the security guards working for Miguel Facussé and René Morales are seen to be the primary actors,” including in the deaths of three MUCA members on August 17, 2010.

Frank writes that “Alleged assassinations and armed attacks by Facussé’s guards continue. On October 5, Facussé’s security guards allegedly shot at and gravely injured two MUCA members at the San Isidro campesino community, according to FIAN. On October 11 at La Aurora, FIAN and other human rights groups report, at least six security guards on lands claimed by Facussé’s Dinant Corporation, together with police and military forces, shot and killed Santos Serfino Zelaya Ruiz, 33, and opened fire on fifteen women spreading salt, who hid for hours afterwards in the palm trees.”

She continues: “On January 8, 2011, opposition activist and journalist Juan Chinchilla was kidnapped in the Aguán Valley, tortured and interrogated. He escaped after two days and reported in an interview that his captors “almost all wore uniforms of the military, police and private guards of Miguel Facussé.”

A number of Wikileaks cables confirm the US Embassy’s suspicions about Facusse’s drug activities.

One cable, dated March 19, 2004, says, “On March 18, post received initial sketchy information involving the burned wreckage of a twin-engine aircraft in the area of Farallones in the Department of Colon on Honduras's north coast. It does not appear that any aircraft actually crashed on March 18. Upon further investigation, Post learned that the owner of the private property where the wreckage was discovered reported to the National Police on March 17 that an unauthorized plane had used a private airstrip on his property to land on March 16.

National Police responding to his report located the burned wreckage March 18. The property owner reported that his guards had shot at the plane, which then erupted into flames. This version does not track with other information post has developed on this wreckage ….

The Post…provided information to the HAF (Honduran Air Force) March 14 about a known drug trafficking flight with a 1,000 kilo cocaine shipment from Colombia, which resulted in a fruitless air interdiction attempt. Separately, a law enforcement source provided information that the aircraft successfully landed March 14 on the private property of Miguel Facusse, a prominent Honduran, who is one of the nation's wealthiest individuals, leading industrialist, and uncle of former Honduran President Carlos Flores Facusse.

Sources informed the police that the aircraft successfully landed March 14 and its cargo was off-loaded onto a convoy of vehicles that was guarded by about 30 heavily armed men. One source claimed that the property's single caretaker was shot at and fled the scene. The aircraft was then burned on March 14 during daylight hours near the runway. According to a source, a bulldozer/front-end loader buried the wreckage on the evening of March 15.

Based on Miguel Facusse's March 17 report to the National Police (see para. 1), police interviewed several of his employees at the property and residents in the area. It is clear that these witnesses were aware of what had happened but did not report it at the time to police authorities because they were afraid.

A second Embassy cable, published in 2011, notes that Facusse's property is heavily guarded and the prospect that individuals were able to access the property and, without authorization, use the airstrip is questionable. In addition, Facusse's report obviously contradicts other information received from the law enforcement source about the actual date of the event and TAT's intelligence about the March 14 air track.

The source also claimed that Facusse was present on the property at the time of the incident. Finally, there is absolutely no evidence to suggest that the HAF was involved in any way with the end result of this air track, except that Post finds it improbable that the HAF interceptor would not have been able to see an aircraft being burned on the ground.

Of additional interest is that this incident marks the third time in the last fifteen months that drug traffickers have been linked to this property owned by Mr. Facusse. In July 2003, a go-fast boat crashed into a sea wall on the same property and engaged in a firefight with National Police forces. Two known drug traffickers were arrested in this incident and 420 kilos of cocaine were recovered. Earlier in the year, another air track terminated at the same property….

On March 30, Honduran authorities confiscated approximately 700 kilos of cocaine and arrested six individuals in the vicinity of Santa Cruz de Yojoa, near Puerto Cortes on Honduras' Caribbean coast. Police arrived in the area as the traffickers were in the process of preparing a false compartment in a Volvo van to transport the cocaine overland. Apart from the some 125 kilos discovered in the van, a search of the property yielded another approximately 575 kilos.

Police were alerted to the situation through a confidential informant. A high ranking official within the SIPDIS Ministry of Public Security speculated the cocaine may have come from the plane discovered March 18 burned and buried on the property of Miguel Facusse, a prominent Honduran businessman.

The US State Department has declined comment on this report.


By William Fisher

Nearly two decades after they were arrested for a crime they didn't commit, five Chicago-area men are about to be cleared.

And, as in so many other cases, it was DNA that let the genii out of the bottle.

Last week, an Illinois judge tossed out the convictions and dismissed charges against three men after DNA tests proved their innocence of a 1991 rape and murder and implicated another man in the crime. One of the three men, Robert Taylor, was freed last week. The other two, Jonathan Barr and his brother James Harden, are expected to be freed momentarily in downstate Illinois.

In a statement, The Innocence Project, which was a major factor in the outcome of these cases, said:

“The five men were convicted in a clear case of false confessions and tunnel vision. Nearly a year after a 14-year-old girl was raped and killed in Dixmoor, a village south of Chicago, police interrogated Robert Lee Veal, a 15-year-old classmate of the victim. After five hours in police custody, Veal signed a statement implicating himself and the four other defendants, who were also teenagers. Two of the other defendants, Taylor and Shainne Sharp also confessed after long interrogations. Veal and Sharp received a lenient plea in exchange for their testimony against the other three defendants, who were convicted at trial.”

The group added, “After months of delaying justice, we’re relieved that the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office has finally seen the light in this case. It is clear that the petition signed by more than 70,000 activists calling for justice on behalf of these men had a profound impact on prosecutors. Unfortunately, we are still fighting for justice on behalf of four men convicted in a strikingly similar crime in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood just a few years after this one.”

Their statement concluded: “This is one of the most tragic miscarriages of justice that we’ve seen in this state and perhaps the nation. Even before they were convicted, the state had DNA evidence proving that the confessions were false, yet it chose to go forward with the prosecutions in spite of this evidence and over the objections of a juvenile court judge,” said Tara Thompson of the University of Chicago Law School Exoneration Project. “This destroyed the lives of these young men while the real perpetrator was allowed to go free, destroying even more lives during a 20-year crime spree.”

DNA testing linked a rapist to the 1991 rape and murder of the 14-year-old girl.

This is a brief history of this case as prepared by The Innocence Project:

On November 19, 1991, Cateresa Matthews, a 14-year-old student at Rosa Parks Middle School in Dixmoor, IL, went missing. Her body was discovered 19 days later on a footpath in a residential neighborhood near Interstate 57 in Dixmoor. She had been raped and shot in the mouth. Nearly a year after the murder, the Illinois State Police interrogated Veal, a 15-year-old student from the same school. After five hours in police custody, Veal signed a written statement implicating himself, Taylor (15), Barr (15), Harden (17) and Sharp (17). After four hours in custody, Taylor also signed a written confession. Two days later, after 21 hours in custody, Sharp did the same.

In June 1994, before any of the teenagers were tried, the Illinois State Police crime lab identified a lone male DNA profile from sperm recovered from the victim’s body. Even though all 5 defendants were excluded as the source of the semen, the prosecution pushed forward rather than seeking the source of the semen recovered from this young victim. Based on doubts about the truthfulness of the confessions, a juvenile court judge refused to charge Barr and Taylor in adult criminal court, a decision later reversed by an appellate court. Veal and Sharp pled guilty to first-degree murder and received a 20-year sentence (they were eligible for release just 7 years from the date of their pleas) in exchange for agreeing to testify against Harden, Barr and Taylor. Over the next 2 years, all 3 were convicted, and each was sentenced to at least 80 years in prison. All subsequent appeals were denied, including a post-conviction request for DNA testing.

In August 2009, James Harden, through the University of Chicago Exoneration Project, again sought DNA testing, a request later joined by Robert Taylor through the Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth and private attorney Jennifer Blagg as well as Jonathan Barr through the Innocence Project. For more than a year, the Dixmoor Police Department claimed that it was unable to locate the DNA and was threatened with contempt of court for failing to respond to a subpoena. Eventually Judge Michele Simmons ordered the Dixmoor police to allow counsel to view the evidence storage areas and log books for themselves. In short order, the Department informed the lawyers that they had finally located the evidence. DNA testing uncovered a full male profile that was entered into the national DNA database of criminal offenders, matching serial violent offender Willie Randolph.

At the time of the crime, Randolph, 33, lived in the victim’s neighborhood and had recently been released on parole after serving a 20-year sentence for armed robbery. He was apprehended by authorities on April 12, 2011. Police questioned Randolph, whose semen had been found in the victim’s body, about the murder, and he denied having sex with Matthews. Subsequently, defendants’ attorneys located another woman who says she was also raped by Randolph at the same exact location.

“It is abundantly clear that overly aggressive police interrogation techniques can cause adults to falsely confess to serious crimes – and when it comes to juveniles, it can happen at a truly alarming rate,” said Joshua Tepfer with the Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth. “These techniques don’t only hurt those wrongfully convicted, but as we saw in this case, they allow the real perpetrators to go free and commit other crimes. Hopefully this case will lead the way for much-needed reforms like requiring that all police interviews and interrogations be videotaped in full.”

Brothers Barr and Harden were just 14 and 16 when Matthews was murdered. Neither Barr nor Harden confessed to the crime and have always maintained their innocence. Their father, James Harden, Sr., provided an alibi at each of their trials, testifying that he was home with the boys on the alleged day the victim was murdered. Barr and Harden’s mother and father both passed away while they were incarcerated.

Taylor was also just 14 at the time of the murder. After a relentless interrogation, he signed a written statement confessing to the crime. He recanted soon thereafter but was convicted at trial based on his statement and the testimony from Veal and Sharp. Taylor plans to live with his father, Robert Taylor, Sr., who has stood by him throughout his two-decade fight to clear his name.

“After months of offering up disingenuous arguments to delay justice, we’re relieved the State’s Attorney’s Office has finally seen the light. This is a classic example of tunnel vision. Five teens supposedly confessed to a rape and murder of a 14-year-old girl, yet they didn’t recover any DNA from the five teens, they offered no evidence that the girl had a boyfriend at the time and they recovered semen from an unknown male,” said Craig Cooley, a staff attorney with the Innocence Project, which is affiliated with Cardozo School of Law.

He added: “These facts should have sent up a red flag 20 years ago, and there was certainly no reason to delay justice once Randolph was identified last spring.”

Head of Bahrain Investigation Finds “Systematic Policy of Torture”

By William Fisher

The head of a fact-finding commission set up by the Bahraini Royal Family to investigate reports of the maltreatment of anti-regime detainees says the government has used a “systematic policy of torture against protesters.”

Though full report of the commission is not due until November 23, Chairman Cherif Bassiouni said last week that he has found 300 cases of torture during his investigation.

"It is not possible to justify torture in any way, and despite the small number of cases, it is clear there was a systematic policy," Bassiouni said in an interview with Egyptian daily newspaper.

"I investigated and I found 300 cases of torture and I was helped in that by legal experts from Egypt and America," he added.

Bassiouni had earlier said that he did not believe maltreatment was systematic, comments that provoked an angry reaction from anti-government protesters.

Since the beginning of anti-regime protests in Bahrain in mid-February, hundreds of people have been arrested and thousands have lost their jobs for supporting the anti-government movement. Bahraini protesters demand an end to the rule of the Al Khalifa dynasty.

Many of those released from jails in Bahrain have accused the Manama regime of serious abuses. Some also charge that a member of Bahrain's royal family named Sheikha Noora bint Ibrahim Al-e Khalifa beat prisoners with sticks and rubber hoses and gave them electric shocks.

Several prisoners have died under torture and rights groups have raised concerns about the torture and abuse of detainees in Bahrain.

An earlier web version of this story by writer Kelly McEvers said, "In an interview, (Bassioni) seemed underwhelmed by the scale of Bahrain's crackdown, compared with the ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia, for example." A more accurate characterization is "In an interview, he said the scale of Bahrain's crackdown was 'manageable,' compared with the ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia.”

Cherif Bassiouni, a high-profile Egyptian-born judge, was appointed in late July to lead an inquiry into events surrounding the protests in February and March, and the crackdown that ensued. He was mandated to investigate what went on during mass protests in February and March, and the brutal crackdown on the largely Shiite opposition that ensued. More than 30 people died, hundreds were detained and beaten, and thousands were fired from their jobs.

Bassiouni has investigated war crimes and human rights violations in the Balkans, Rwanda, Afghanistan and, most recently, Libya. He and a team of international investigators have taken testimony from both the government and the opposition. The commission will then issue a report and recommendations to Bahrain's king.

Bassiouni says unlike the 9/11 Commission, which was made up of former
politicians, or a U.N. commission that investigates a country whether the ruler likes it or not, the Bahrain commission is different.

Bassioni said during his interview, "This is a first of its kind in the world," he says. "That is, for a government to appoint a commission of inquiry but to select the composition of the committee from international personalities and to give it total independence."

Nevertheless, skeptics are pointing out that Commission is being financed ny the government of Bahrain, that a former government employee is arranging his media availabilities.

But Bassiouni says,” if members of Bahrain's security forces are found to have committed torture, he will recommend they be prosecuted. What he says he can't control is whether these recommendations are heeded or whether those who ordered the torture will ever be known.”

He says he hopes the commission will at least serve as a public record — a kind of South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission on paper — that might one day help the disenfranchised Shiite majority of Bahrain reconcile with the country's Sunni leadership.

At a press conference in Bahrain's capital, Manama, Khalil al-Marzooq, a leader of the country's main Shiite opposition group, said by focusing on individual cases of abuse, Bassiouni's commission won't get at the larger problems.

"It means more than somebody fired you. It means more than a policeman beat you in the street. It's more than a policeman tortured you in custody," he says.

"It's a structural issue.

A structural issue, Marzooq says, that can be fixed only by reforming the
political system, not by inviting international legal scholars to clean up
Bahrain's image.

LIberties We Have Lost Since 9/11

By William Fisher

As the country enters its second post-9/11 decade, I asked renowned human rights crusader Chip Pitts about what civil liberties/human rights we’ve collectively lost in the so-called “war on terror” as what was previously legal has now become criminal.

Here’s what he said:

“Virtually all of our most fundamental rights and liberties have been affected for the worse, with little or no awareness among the populace at large. The ignorance is no accident, but the product of conscious mendacity, manipulation and complicity among the leading political parties, all branches of government, defense contractors and the entrenched military-industrial-surveillance complex, and mainstream media – all of which (with occasional notable exceptions) are tragically pulled by various perverse incentives in the direction of trying to out-do each other in pandering to the basest fears and instincts of the American Body Politic”.

He added: “A huge number of legal violations have occurred, ranging from the momentous (illegal war) to the mundane (failure to fully notify the appropriate committees of Congress about the illegal warrantless surveillance as required under the National Security Act), but I’ll limit myself to highlighting the most significant to the rights of the American public.”

How has the ‘War on Terror’ impacted the Rule of Law?

“The first category of infringements I would place under the general rubric of undermining the Rule of Law. Although all the regressions could be put in this category, some strike more than others at the very concept itself. If the Rule of Law means anything, it means that everyone is subject to the same rules of general application and that those rules are fairly applied: a “government of laws, and not of men” as founding father and American President John Adams famously put it.
“Yet we now have a much more arbitrary system of justice, in which people can be deemed second-class citizens and have their assets seized, have their travel and other rights burdened, and be stigmatized, imprisoned, or even killed merely by essentially unreviewable executive fiat.”

That’s the net effect of new approaches including the following, all of which impose serious burdens without the traditional checks and balances and independent reviews previously enshrined in law:

· Asset Seizure section 106 of the Patriot Act, which has led for example to the closure on legally dubious grounds of nearly all of the major Muslim charities in the United States, among other seizures occurring merely upon executive branch “designation”,

· the notoriously error-ridden “watch lists” and “no fly” lists which have thrown certain innocent individuals into a Kafkaesque Hell from which there’s no easy escape, setting a precedent for further pernicious “government by watch-list” that extra-legally allocates benefits and burdens,

· the TSA bodyscanners, which don’t work to detect the plastic explosives which were their supposed reason for being, as noted by sources as diverse as the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office, and CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta – but have been shown to pose risks to privacy and health, disproportionately burdening vulnerable populations including children, the elderly, religious objectors, and the immune-compromised who risk serious harm from the cumulative effects of long-term radiation exposure,

· the reality of profiling on racial, religious, ethnic, and national origin grounds, despite official rhetoric and policies against it, facilitated by reliance on a (likely unconstitutional) broad exception relating to national security and border-related investigations,

· the risk that anyone could be subject to the military commissions regime, a novel secondary justice system in which the executive branch is judge, jury, and executioner and in which a person may find themselves arbitrarily placed without principled distinction simply because they’ve been labeled a “terrorist” or “enemy combatant” (thus US citizen Jose Padilla was shifted at the last minute from the military to the civilian regime after years of being imprisoned, tortured, and denied counsel as an “enemy combatant,” and shoe bomber Richard Reid was tried in civilian court 400 other terrorists, but others find themselves subjected to the lower evidentiary and justice standards of the military regime, without reasoned explanation),

· Assassination (defenders call it legal “targeted killing”) even of US citizens off the battlefield, without due process of law, without lawyers or the right to confront the evidence or witnesses against them, without the right to trial by jury or any of the other protections guaranteed by the US Constitution.
Haven’t we also experienced specific infringements of fundamental rights crucial to our national identity and fundamental values?
“We certainly have. Even a cursory review of the Constitutional protections that have been compromised illustrates the point. For example:

· The First Amendment rights of freedom of speech, press, association, assembly, religion, and petitioning government for redress of grievances, all newly under pressure from widespread warrantless surveillance, secret datamining of private data, surreptitious infiltration of peaceful protest and solidarity groups, President Obama’s increased prosecution of supposedly protected whistleblowers and leakers, and changes in the law allowing criminalization and chilling of such speech and association promoting peace and human rights under the Patriot Act’s “material support” provision (which criminalized “expert advice and assistance” and was upheld in the US Supreme Court’s closely divided, erroneous decision Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project),

· The Fourth Amendment rights to freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures without a warrant and probable cause to believe a crime or terrorism was involved, which also have been eroded by the FISA Amendments Act (allowing the Bush-era illegal warrantless surveillance of Americans’ phone calls, emails, and web-surfing habits), Patriot Act provisions including section 505 regarding the notorious and repeatedly abused National Security Letters (allowing the FBI to search a wide variety of library and business records without probable cause, any judicial review, or notifying the target), section 215 (the library and business records provision requiring the secret FISA court to approve searches on a mere “relevance” standard and probably also being interpreted to allow a secret datamining program some Senators say would “stun” and “anger” the US public if revealed), section 213 (allowing sneak and peek” secret black bag job searches of homes), and section 218 (basically importing expansive foreign intelligence surveillance powers into domestic criminal law).

· The Fifth Amendment rights to due process of law has been infringed not only by the extreme measure of assassination noted above, but also by increasingly routine arbitrary changes of the rules—contrary to President Obama’s promises -- so as to block accountability for other violations of fundamental rights, as with the use of the state secrets privilege, standing, and other procedural doctrines to completely immunize those who labeled citizens like Jose Padilla “enemy combatants”, or those who tortured, participated in extraordinary rendition (kidnapping and “disappearing” people) to places of torture, and planned and conducted warrantless surveillance,

· The Eighth Amendment rights to freedom from torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment (also protected by an international treaty, the Convention Against Torture, signed by Pres. Ronald Reagan, and by federal statute), which has been rhetorically embraced by both the Bush and Obama administrations but ignored in practice (especially by the former, but also allegedly to a lesser extent even by the latter, in cases such as those of Bradley Manning, Gulet Muhammed, and in Afghanistan and Iraq).

Have these major infringements spilled over into the routine law enforcement and justice systems of the United States?

“Some of us had naïve expectations that these developments wouldn’t further affect ordinary citizens. We all know that legions of ordinary citizens already have been harmed and had their privacy and liberties infringed by National Security Letters and other Patriot Act provisions, as decades of gradual progress in expanding rights have been undermined and generations who have fought for hard-won liberties have seen both their liberty and their security dramatically reduced this past decade. This category includes:

· The increasing militarization of domestic policing and intelligence gathering, as seen in such developments as the Pentagon’s new Northern Command, the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) involvement in domestic intelligence and counterterror efforts, Pentagon involvement in infiltration of domestic peace and anti-war groups, increasing deployment of weaponized drones within US borders as well as at the borders, and the surveillance, biometric, and other equipment and weapons defense contractors have imported from Iraq and Afghanistan into American streets, all as described (among others) by Dana Priest and Bill Arkin in their Top Secret America Washington Post series and book, and all in great tension with our Constitutional regime and historic bias against domestic deployment of military forces as reflected in Posse Comitatus and other laws,

· Although sold as temporary, emergency counterterror measures, these laws and approaches such as the Patriot Act have only become more permanent and used overwhelmingly for routine, domestic law enforcement (such as drug cases and minor offenses) – as repeatedly confirmed in the government’s own reports, such as the recent one described by the ACLU pertaining to “sneak and peek” home search warrants -- again contrary to the basic premises and fundamental laws of our democratic republic and its origins in a Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights arranged precisely against such arbitrary and unconstrained power.

· The way the laws have, as described above, been used to immunize high officials and the powerful from accountability of any type (no torture victim has received his or her day in US court!) at the very time laws for lesser violations have resulted in the United States carrying the dubious honor of having imprisoned more of its population, in both absolute and percentage terms, than any other nation in the world. This discrepancy remains a substantial driver for the Occupy movement and can be expected to continue to drive social instability, protest, and conflict unless and until the gaps in transparency and accountability are remedied and again realigned with the original, sensible Constitutional vision and allocation of rights and powers.
Chip Pitts teaches human rights and corporate social responsibility law at Stanford Law School and Oxford University, and serves as a volunteer activist for a number of organizations and initiatives seeking to advance human rights, civil liberties, social justice, and economic development.