Foreign Companies Face Risk
of US Court Corruption:
Doing Business in the Big Bribery Nation
by Dr Les (Leslie) Sachs

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Dr Les (Leslie) Sachs

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Contrat Creative Commons
This création is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Belgium Licence.

Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation Licence, Version 1.3 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation.

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 doing business?

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 movies.

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 the US.

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 victims.

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 organisations.

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 corporate shareholders.

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 jail cells.

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 judges.

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 courts.

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.

Contrat Creative Commons
This création is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Belgium Licence.

Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation Licence, Version 1.3 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation.

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