|This article was
original published by Canada-based MWC News (Media With Conscience)
before it shut down, and then revived without its earlier content.
Doing Business in the
Big Bribery Nation
There is a country where international
business executives and companies face ever-heightening risks and
dangers, as they deal with the world's largest group of bribed judges
and crooked lawyers. International companies and individuals are at
risk in this large nation where the "rules" involve paying bribes via
certain pathways, but where it is easier to go to prison than anywhere
else in the world.
You might ask: What is this large corrupt nation?
Where is this cesspool of corrupt lawyers and judges, who make such a
mockery of the rule of law? In what nation must we be so wary when
Here's a hint: It is a nation that also has the world's most powerful
propaganda industry, propaganda with all the glamour of Hollywood
In fact, this corrupt nation actually DOES include Hollywood. It is a
well-known fact to its internal powers, though not to the rest of the
world, that the United States of America has the worst bribery culture
of any developed nation, a bribery culture that centres very
specifically in US judges and lawyers.
Your first reaction is perhaps shock or disbelief, thinking that I am a
conspiracy theorist or just making this up. You may react like this
because, like most of the world, you have been deceived by US movies
and television shows, which are pervaded with propaganda images of
lawyers and court cases. In these Hollywood films, there are endless
"brave lawyers" who will "fight for your rights" and "fight for the
little guy". In these films, the judges are patient and noble and smile
like wise old uncles, as they deliver careful verdicts that let the
innocent go free, and justice be done.
However, in the grim reality of the US, businesses, and especially
foreign businesses, face financial destruction, and individuals face
jail and death, if they believe too much in these movies about the US
legal system. Let me set the facts out for you very quickly.
The World's Biggest Gulag
The US now has about 2.2 million prisoners, about 25 per cent of all
the prisoners in the entire world. In Belgium, where I now live as a
political refugee, about 1 out of every 1000 people is in prison. In
the US, it is about 1 out of every 140 people in jail - a dramatically
higher percentage than anywhere else in the world. Even in absolute
numbers, many more people are in US prisons than in the prisons of
China, even though China has 1.3 billion people, versus 300 million for
If you don't count children and the elderly, you realize that about 1
out of 80 US adults is currently behind bars, in jail or prison. If you
count adults who have been criminally convicted and include those still
on parole or probation as well as in prison, you are down to about 1
out of 30. These are, simply, terrifying figures. Yet the US has huge
amounts of crime - so they obviously didn't arrest all the criminals.
This is because, in fact, many of those people in US jails are
innocent. Even the close "allies" of the US, like European governments,
can not get their own citizens out of US prisons despite massive proof
of the victims' innocence.
Many of these 2.2 million US prisoners are essentially slave labour for
US corporations, working for wages below those paid in very poor
countries in Africa or Asia. And these victims in the US prisons, all
had "lawyers" to help shove them into jail. But such lawyers are NOT
defenders of the poor. Many of them are court-appointed arm-twisters
who tell their poor victims to "take a plea bargain" for a few years in
jail, or else face a longer term if they risk a trial. These
government-paid "lawyers" in the US get put out of work, and become
jobless or worse, if they don't play along to help jail innocent
Foreigners are treated very badly by US police and court procedures.
The US has been repeatedly convicted of violating treaties, and of
never even notifying foreign governments that their citizens have been
arrested. As many Mexicans have found out, the US even sentences
foreign people to death, while not allowing the victims any chance to
have their own government help them.
Bribery and the Praetorian Guard
Now, as regards business, foreign companies, and the US bribery
culture: The basic model of the US courts - well understood by large US
corporations, but much less understood by foreign companies - is that
the US judges, federal and local, all run their cases and courtrooms in
a generally pro-business, pro-corporation fashion, PROVIDED that the
businesses who find themselves in court, pay the appropriate financial
tributes and bribes to the US governmental powers, and that their
governments are politically supportive of the US.
Thus, there is great danger in the US, for companies that are
associated with ownership in Venezuela, China, or any one of a hundred
other countries that are potentially critical of the US and its
policies. Even if the near neighbours of the US, Canada or Mexico,
started rocking the US boat too severely, their companies would quickly
find themselves punished via politically-motivated legal proceedings.
The US is very unlike other corrupt countries, where most bribes are
paid directly to executive and administrative officials. Such things do
take place in the US, but are comparatively rare. The crucial forms of
bribery in the US are the bribes paid to judges and to leading lawyers,
along with the campaign contributions and related gifts to politicians,
which latter are often channelled via so-called non-profit
The importance for foreign businesses, and indeed any business in the
US, is that if you do not pay the bribe money and political campaign
money, you may get truly and utterly destroyed - You may suddenly find
your name in the papers with news that you have been "charged" with
various administrative or civil offences by government agencies, or
even be facing criminal charges; and you may suddenly find yourself in
court and all your court cases going very badly for you. Theoretically,
all such charges and court cases are "unrelated", but the real
motivating factor is that you didn't pay the bribe money that US judges
and politicians wanted.
In the US, the direct political campaign contributions, and corporate
gifts to political action committees, are more or less documented and
out in the open. Slightly less so, is the channelling of what are
really bribery funds, through non-profit organisations that have
political connections. The "charitable donations" to these latter
groups are unlimited in size, million dollar "gifts" and so on. But
your "gifts" make possible the cushy employment of the friends of the
politicians and the judges, and the issuing of policy propaganda by
these "non-governmental organisations" or NGOs to support the
corporations and the government. Thus they are an important part of
greasing the wheels of the US system.
Since the 1970s, the US political establishment (and even the CIA) has
made the covert use of NGOs a regular technique of conducting political
activity, channelling money, and bending world media. The dirty money
soiling many NGOs is a separate story, though, from the main topic here.
It is the bribes paid to the US judges and lawyers are the most
central, most subtle and most hidden form of bribery in the US. Such
bribes are huge, pervasive, and essentially untraceable, though the
effects are direct and catastrophic if you do not pay up.
The money is nearly always channelled through American lawyers and law
firms, under the protection of "lawyer-client confidentiality".
America's army of about 1 million lawyers, includes a core of gangsters
who are really the Praetorian Guard of the US empire. These lawyers
guard the access to the inner sanctum of US control. Such lawyers
mediate the connections between wealthy individuals and corporations
and the power of the US government, power that is centred in the US
federal courts and their judges-for-life. The so-called "rule of law",
as they proclaim it in the US, is really the rule of lawyers who
control all key matters to benefit the large and ruling wealthy
The way you bribe the US judges is simply by hiring the "right" lawyers
and paying absolutely absurd lawyers' bills, and the law firms then
fund the bribes to the judges. This assumes, of course, a background of
also paying other dutiful political contributions to US politicians -
of both parties, actually, Democrats as well as Republicans. The
American "two party system" is as fake as America's courts, as both US
parties support the same corporate policies, and get the same corporate
funding - but the fraud of the US 'two-party system' is another story.
The bribery of US judges and courts is a factor for all businesses on
US territory. If you are a significant-sized business in the US, you
often look for a law firm that "knows" politicians and judges. That law
firm bills you for huge amounts of "legal work" at US $400 per hour per
lawyer or some similar high rate, leading to legal bills of tens or
hundreds of thousands of dollars for no visible reason. The lawyers get
rich, but some of that money finds its way to the judges via cash
delivered by law firm "bag men". No one, no one in America, no
journalist or prosecutor, dares investigate this process. Even as a
business paying bribes, you and your lawyers almost never even discuss
it, even though the main players in America all understand that this is
how the system works.
If you are in a legal dispute with another large corporation, this
bribery money that you pay, does not necessarily buy victory in court,
because the other side is usually paying bribes too; but the bribery
usually does buy insurance that you will not be destroyed or too badly
mauled. US lawyers and judges are just playing the age-old extortion
and protection-racket game, in a very genteel format, with the window
dressing of the self-proclaimed "greatest legal system in the world".
What people can buy with such bribery - even some foreign companies do
this - is the total destruction of little people and small businesses
who are not paying bribes or who have no political connections, or who
have no money for lawyers. A company in the US that is paying bribes,
can also buy victory over even larger and richer companies that are not
paying sufficient bribes or political contributions.
If you are paying bribes to US judges and you want to target a poor
little victim, you can often have that powerless but innocent victim,
completely destroyed, bankrupted, and jailed if you choose to do so.
With so few people willing to even speak about the bribed judges and
crooked lawyers in America, those who pay bribes can use the US legal
system to have victims not just jailed, but also even murdered in their
The Biggest Taboo of All
The bribery culture in the US is an entirely closed circle, it is
completely taboo to talk about it. Even when judges and lawyers go too
far, and commit felony crimes in broad daylight in the US, often
nothing is done at all. Other lawyers and judges will not allow any
complaints to go forward, and the politicians will not help the victim.
The US media - itself controlled by large corporations deeply enmeshed
in the culture of bribery and influence - will never print legal
corruption stories unless the lawyers and judges themselves are filing
legal action first. Lawyers and judges only get punished if they really
go "too far" outside the corporate rules, like the US judge who
regularly operated his penis pump in the courtroom during public court
proceedings. (I am not kidding.)
In the US, nearly all complaints about lawyers and judges are kept
secret. In some places it is actually "illegal" for the victim to
publish such complaints. The complaints are buried and nothing is done.
The same judges who take bribes, control the complaint process about
lawyers and their fellow judges, and make sure that everything is
quashed and kept secret.
Anyone who breaks the taboo, and tries to expose any crimes, is quickly
crushed and destroyed. A New York Times reporter who wrote a critical
article about the judges, was "mysteriously" shot dead in the street a
few weeks later. The major media will not cover the story of a victim's
fight against the judges, and the smaller, more independent media are
themselves too afraid. The lack of media coverage then is held up as
supposed "proof" that there is no corruption.
Even big companies can be destroyed if they break this taboo. Lawyers
who complain about corruption are instantly disbarred, sued, silenced,
even jailed. Victims who try and fight the system get nowhere, like the
families of so many innocent people in prison.
In its actual workings, the US legal system often degenerates into
fraud and farce and deep tragedy. Poor people are even sometimes put to
death in the US, with not even a reply to their final appeal. Those who
have total and complete "smoking gun" proof of crimes by US lawyers and
judges, can do little more than put their stories on the internet, and
they are sometimes charged and jailed for just that.
US judges actually commonly ban the victims' freedom of speech. Yes,
that is "against the Bill of Rights" i.e., the famous first ten
Amendments to the US Constitution, but the judges themselves decide
when the Constitution "applies" and when it doesn't. Those same
Amendments to the US Constitution prohibit torture too - but that
doesn't help the victims of the US either, and the US is now one of the
worst torturing nations in the world.
Dangers for Foreign Business
The danger for foreign business people in the US, is first of all that
the US bribery culture is not sufficiently understood. What happens
when companies do not pay sufficient bribes, for example, is that a
major company gets shaken down, charged with various administrative
crimes and then may have to pay huge fines for tens of millions of
dollars, and the company then is left scratching its head, given that
its behaviour is exactly the same - or even better - than other
companies that are not charged or fined. The difference is that the
other company was paying more bribes.
On the other hand, some foreign companies learn to play the US bribery
game very well. In one case, a European company get huge mileage - and
won a whole set of ludicrous court verdicts to its own benefit - simply
by hiring the law firm where the federal judge used to work. The judge
even publicly visited his old firm during the trial. Ah, nothing like
old friends and good connections. The opposing law firm could see the
bribery visibly taking place before its eyes, but was helpless to stop
it. These opposing lawyers merely told their client company to keep
quiet or it would be a lot worse. The company being victimized, was
eventually able to get some of the judge's rulings reversed on appeal
(after spending much more money), but the trick of hiring the judge's
old law firm was effective overall. In general, in US courts, the first
party to pay big bribes is the winner, if the other is not quickly up
to putting money into the plate.
The much bigger danger in the US legal system, however, especially for
foreign business people, is the fact that the US system, its cabal of
judges, can together change course quickly, and make a quick political
decision to destroy some individuals or an entire large organisation.
In upcoming events of possible political stress - military action by
the US in the Americas, some new events of US foreign policy failures,
or maybe the US getting angry at Venezuela or China as they continue to
win more friends - in such a moment, the US courts could move very
quickly to destroy foreign companies, seize foreign assets, and
imprison foreign citizens.
US Courts Quickly Destroy a Billion Dollar Organisation
A good example of how the US turned the direction of its courts quickly
for political reasons, is the 1990s US political assault on the Roman
Catholic Church. The US very suddenly seized hundreds of millions of
dollars of its assets and permanently smeared the Church's reputation
around the world. The cases of Roman Catholic priests abusing young
boys are, indeed, partly genuine, and very tragic. But those cases,
those very same cases, had been around for many years, sometimes for
several decades, and the complaints and proof got nowhere in the US
courts, until a big political decision was made by the US rulers.
The late Polish Pope John Paul II always remained a socialist, who
thought the US was a dangerous empire. He had been condemning the
brutality of the US economy, and didn't like the "shock treatment" of
corporate capitalism imposed on Poland and Eastern Europe after the
fall of the communists. In his preaching against American excess, the
Pope also condemned the militarism of the first Iraq war in 1990-91 and
the cruel treatment of the Iraqi people by the Western powers. The Pope
sought peace between Christians and Muslims.
With the US government in the early 1990s trying to start running the
whole world as the superpower, the US rulers decided the authority of
the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church had to be destroyed. Thus, all
of a sudden, the US corporate newspapers decided to start running
newspapers about the "priest child abuse" stories, the same stories
that they had been refusing to print for the previous 50 years. All of
a sudden, the courtroom doors swung wide open for almost anyone
claiming to be a sexual abuse victim of a priest or nun, and now, every
such legal case was trumpeted in the media. Victims who had no evidence
at all, were now encouraged to come forward even if their stories did
not hold water.
US courts, that for years had refused to hear such cases, that for
years had refused to grant such victims any compensation, suddenly
started issuing judgments for tens of millions, hundreds of millions of
dollars against the Roman Catholic Church. Roman Church dioceses filed
for bankruptcy, but the deeper bankruptcy was that of the Church's
reputation, largely destroyed around the world. People everywhere would
walk or drive by an RC church and say, "I wonder if the priest is
fooling around with any young boys in there."
The US judges and lawyers who wouldn't help such victims before, now
became a great stampede of destruction, scouring for RC church victims
they could "help". Was it just a "coincidence" that US judges across
the country just all began to accept these "priest abuse" cases at the
same time, and all start issuing huge judgments for hundreds of
millions of dollars? When these cases and victims and allegations had
been around for 10, 20 years and more previously? No law had changed;
the only thing that had changed was the political desires of the US
The Whole World Fooled by the Hollywood Version
It's interesting that even countries of the world that have a long
culture of critical understanding about US politics, are still fooled
by the myths about the US legal system as portrayed by the Hollywood
movies. Though much of the world thinks of the US as being governed by
war-mongers, ruthless capitalists, etc., somehow people - even people
with a Marxist education - don't yet appreciate that the US courts are
part of this same political apparatus. Few people think about how 1 out
of 80 adult Americans got sent to the US prison gulag.
When I departed from the US for the final time, I slipped over the
border at Niagara Falls, about 90 days before an innocent Chinese
businesswoman, Zhao Yan, had her face horribly beaten by a goon of US
Homeland Security at that very location, on the US side of the Falls.
The case of Zhao Yan was followed closely in China, most especially the
failure to get justice in US courts, which protected her attacker. The
Chinese were stunned, puzzled, and mystified at the inability to get
justice via the "great US legal system". Eventually, the Chinese
puzzlement turned to anger, and the tragic case of Zhao Yan led to this
comment in a posting of Chinese opinion:
- Let's beat up all the Americans in China and tell them it is
the war against terrorism.
But it should be no puzzle why Ms Zhao Yan could not get justice. Her
tragically beaten-in face, as documented in photographs on the web,
should be a vivid warning to the great risks for other foreign
businesspeople inside the US.
Cases, Evidence and Media Neglect
You probably would like to hear more about specific cases of US court
bribery and so on. Such cases are legion, but because they are almost
never prosecuted, almost never covered as "bribery" cases, just
verdicts going mysteriously against the obvious facts, the recounting
of such cases won't "convince" you if you want to keep believing in the
Hollywood version of the US legal system.
Other cases are truly convincing, but still not covered truthfully by
the major media, so you can then dismiss them as "isolated" cases. You
can go to websites like Victims of Law, which digest many published
articles about dishonest judges and lawyers that did actually make it
to some media, but such cases are not the real core of big-league
corporate bribery. In the big league involving the big multi-national
corporations supporting the Bush regime, the bribery is usually so well
done that you will never see it described directly.
The US bribery culture is part and parcel of why the 2.2 million people
in the US prison gulag cannot count on receiving justice. But beyond
that, it is why the risks for foreign business people and companies,
and indeed for all foreign visitors, are very great inside the US.
Interestingly, foreign business people do have concrete resources with
which to learn the ropes of US bribery. One US lawyer, Teddy Moore,
disbarred after he himself tried to question corruption, has actually
made somewhat of a living as someone rather like a bribery consultant,
helping businesses inside the US to connect with 'The Fixer' in the
legal system (i.e., the lawyer who can 'fix it' with the right judges)
for their particular case.
Though you don't easily find the term 'bribery consulting' on Mr
Moore's "DoItProSe" website, you can read between the lines and see
what is afoot there. Given that many US lawyers charge money while
doing nothing or even betraying their own clients, Moore's services may
be interesting for businesses trying to navigate survival in the US
It is not a pretty sight there in the US legal system, but for those
who don't accidentally upset the political powers, it may be survivable
for foreign businesses for limited time periods, provided they
understand the risks, and that they play the political and financial
games in the right way.
But it must be understood that the future inside the US is very, very
risky for all foreign businesses and individuals, just like it is risky
for US citizens themselves who dare to speak up or to oppose the
corruption and oppression.
The aftermath of the US failures in its wars in the Middle East, is
that the US may even become much more oppressive on its home territory.
In a fit of anger at any country which opposes US political aims, or
which even dares to speak the truth about the US empire, the dishonest
US courts may quickly take revenge on any citizens and companies and
assets they can seize on US territory.
If you are in the US, try not to wind up among those 1 out of every 80
working-age adults in prison there, and don't give up your non-US
passport if you are lucky enough to have one.