By Mark Richards, 2019
My family and I found ourselves in an unenviable position this winter, as the Fake News pundits set some English cyber bully into full attack mode in our direction. He opened his attack with a series of interviews with some questionably one-sided ‘witnesses.’
It provides an interesting lesson in how the New World Order attacks and destroys people that it considers a threat, and opens up a number of questions concerning how the public needs to react to clean up this growingly dangerous situation.
Every year, innocent people go to prison (or are pushed to suicide) because of ‘informants’ who lie for their own self interests. The problem, studies show, is the fact that this horse trading between the informants and the government – or the media – is largely informal, unregulated, and highly secretive. On top of that, the informants hold all the cards, because they supposedly have valuable information the government wants – no matter if it is true or not.
This motivates some prosecutors or reporters to bend whatever rules there are to get what they want. It becomes even more of a danger when ‘good people’ are convinced to tell only ‘part’ of the truth, thus seeming to add weight to the prosecutor’s or reporter’s version of the story, while avoiding the facts that might have proven the chosen target’s defense. This must change. There has to be meaningful transparency with the government’s – or the media’s – use of ‘incentivized witnesses.’ There must be some way to validate the information offered by an incentivized witness who has every reason to game the system, because the system in place is deeply flawed.
What convicts call ‘snitches’ or ‘rats’ have been around for a long time. A good example is that the American Civil War saw tens of thousands of war prisoners ‘flipping’ in order to gain better treatment by their captors. Some of them gave up information on their friends and their war plans, while others switched allegiance to the side of their captors. Legal commentators say this proves that harsh treatment of prisoners promotes the prisoner’s innate desire to appeal to authorities in power over them to gain more favorable treatment.
Not much has changed in that respect.
The US government’s use of informants became a formal part of law enforcement during the Prohibition ear in the 1920s, when the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms switched to using entrapment and informants to catch gun and alcohol smugglers, making snitching an integral part of the criminal justice system. Informant use exploded, however, in the 1970s when President Richard Nixon declared a ‘war on drugs,’ and the government used the same techniques of entrapment and informants to bust suspected drug offenders on a massive scale. Ronald Reagan ramped up the war on drugs by creating harsh mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenders, which could be avoided only if the defendants cooperated with the government by snitching on their confederates. The government’s targets weren’t drug kingpins, but low-level grunts who would flip and give law enforcment information on the higher-ups in the organization. Faced sometimes with mandatory life in prison, these low-rung players were forced into a situation where they had no choice but to cooperate, even if it meant they had to make up stories.
Informants have become the ‘tool of choice,’ for law enforcement and the media, especially in conspiracy cases where ‘proof’ can be rather thin. While facts and figures are closely guarded secrets, the limited data that is publicly available about informants show that about 60 percent of drug defendants cooperate in some way in exchange for reduced charges or sentences.
“Often in DEA [Drug Enforcement Administration], you have agents who do little or no follow up,” in drug cases, one prosecutor complained. “So when a cooperator comes and begins to give you information outside of the particular incident, you have no clue if what he says is true,” he said. “It’s bizarre,” another admitted. (Quoted by Dale Chappell in “Government Snitches,” GOVERNMENT LEGAL NEWS, March 2019, page 1)
A major problem is that informants offer information that law enforcement or the media often cannot verify as true. When an informant testifies for the government before a jury or for the media ‘on camera,’ the specific details are usually known only to the informant, which gives the appearance that the informant has ‘inside information.’ This bolsters the informant’s credibility with those listening, and proving that the informant’s information is false is nearly an impossible feat for a defendant.
Government witnesses lying on the stand is nothing new, but it is how and why they lie that has changed. Loyola Law School professor Alexandra Natapoff said in her study, “How Snitches Contribute to Wrongful Convictions,” that prosecutors are heavily invested in the informant’s story to make their case and thus have no real incentive to check a lying informant. The same is true for the average media reporter, pushing for higher ratings far more than the ‘truth.’ This ‘marriage of convenience’ created by the interests of the prosecutor and informant benefits both parties, with an innocent person sometimes going to prison (or being destroyed in the media).
Natapoff also would note that police, prosecutors, and reporters become heavily invested in their informants’ stories and often lack the objectivity needed to step back and see when their sources might be lying. They begin to believe the lies themselves.
To be continued.