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Israeli Government Operatives Setting Precedent in American Courts - Secret Witnesses

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posted on Dec, 26 2006 @ 03:16 AM


In three current high-profile criminal cases, federal prosecutors have asked that the identities of Israeli government witnesses be withheld from defendants and their attorneys — a move some legal scholars see as a highly unusual end run around the 6th Amendment.

Defense attorneys in all three cases have argued, with mixed results, that allowing U.S. prosecutors to keep the witnesses' identities secret — as demanded by Israel to protect its agents — violates their clients' constitutional right to confront their accusers.

This is outrageous! I appreciate the need for Israeli agents to remain anonymous, but if that need is so pressing, they should stay home and let the trials run their respective courses based on the merit of the other evidence (presuming there is any). We simply can't allow secret witnesses in this country, or before you know it we'll have them coming out of our ears, and people will be getting locked up for the most heinous of crimes thanks to testimony coming from a blue dot or a muffled voice emnating from a paper bag.

Again, I appreciate the needs of Israel to keep their undercover/intelligence operatives unknown and safe, and to ensure they can keep doing their job. But in that case, they must not be able to testify!

When an undercover cop has to testify, he testifies! If the risk to his health or his assignment is too great, he doesn't tesitfy! Simple.

If the accused has no chance to confront his accuser, and the defense has no way to research the person making the statement, then they have lost a crucial defense against malicious, baseless prosecution by the government and its host of secret sources. It's insane, that we would even think of allowing this.

If the only evidence holding up a prosecutor's case is secret testimony from a secret witness, the case ought to be dismissed before people have even taken their seats. And if there's more to the case than just secret testimony, if there's more to the prosecutor's argument than an anonymous figure with ostensible credibility, then the omission of the testimony should have no massive effect on the case!

It happens very, very rarely, but the SCOTUS actually shares my view on this issue.

In a unanimous opinion written by the one of the court's most consistently conservative voices, Justice Antonin Scalia, the Supreme Court ruled that defendants have a right to know their accusers and challenge the reliability of their statements, no matter their credentials.

"Dispensing with confrontation because testimony is obviously reliable is akin to dispensing with jury trial because a defendant is obviously guilty," Scalia wrote. "This is not what the 6th Amendment prescribes."

Once more for clarity, I'm not suggesting that intelligence operatives or undercover agents ought to be put in danger by testifying in open court, if that's not in their (government's) best interest. But neither am I going to stand for convictions based on the testimony of invisible men! It's ludicrous!

posted on Dec, 26 2006 @ 12:16 PM
Some info on the sixth amendment -

Amendment VI (the Sixth Amendment) of the United States Constitution codifies rights related to criminal prosecutions in federal courts. The Supreme Court has ruled that these rights are so fundamental and important that they are protected in state courts by the Fourteenth Amendment's Due Process Clause.

Text of the amendment: In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.

posted on Dec, 26 2006 @ 03:23 PM
I concur.
This is absurd.
Equally absurd is the lack of outrage at this article.
Maybe everybody is just awestruck like I was.

From the sounds of this article it would appear that an entire national (religious?) group is attempting to bypass our justice system and subvert our very own Bill of Rights....
Im not sure it is possible for one nation to bypass another nations justice system, absent the use of MASSIVE political and/or financial pressures......

posted on Dec, 26 2006 @ 05:06 PM
This strikes me as a typical response to what I consider a 'real' conspiracy. It's not very entertaining, and that means most people simply don't care. Conspiracies that have entertainment value are always more popular, no matter how true or false they are - no matter what's at stake.


I doubt if any other state could swing this, but for Israel it appears to be child's play. They've got their claws in deep, that's for sure.

Since the October War in 1973, Washington has provided Israel with a level of support dwarfing that given to any other state. It has been the largest annual recipient of direct economic and military assistance since 1976, and is the largest recipient in total since World War Two, to the tune of well over $140 billion (in 2004 dollars). Israel receives about $3 billion in direct assistance each year, roughly one-fifth of the foreign aid budget, and worth about $500 a year for every Israeli. This largesse is especially striking since Israel is now a wealthy industrial state with a per capita income roughly equal to that of South Korea or Spain.

Other recipients get their money in quarterly installments, but Israel receives its entire appropriation at the beginning of each fiscal year and can thus earn interest on it. Most recipients of aid given for military purposes are required to spend all of it in the US, but Israel is allowed to use roughly 25 per cent of its allocation to subsidise its own defence industry. It is the only recipient that does not have to account for how the aid is spent, which makes it virtually impossible to prevent the money from being used for purposes the US opposes, such as building settlements on the West Bank. Moreover, the US has provided Israel with nearly $3 billion to develop weapons systems, and given it access to such top-drawer weaponry as Blackhawk helicopters and F-16 jets. Finally, the US gives Israel access to intelligence it denies to its Nato allies and has turned a blind eye to Israel’s acquisition of nuclear weapons.


posted on Dec, 26 2006 @ 10:39 PM
I'm confused as to how the Sixth Amendment can apply to people who aren't US citizens that is unless the Israeli agents are US citizens.
Anyway if the likes of security agents are going to be witnesses the trial should be held behind closed doors and the records kept secret. This would allow for a fair trial and secrecy.

posted on Dec, 26 2006 @ 10:53 PM
By the article it said, that involve high profile cases and that the Israelis witnesses are government operatives.

What kind of cases are there that require Israeli government operatives/

I am confused.

This is in regular court? or just some type of cases.

Can somebody explain to me.

posted on Dec, 26 2006 @ 11:15 PM
In once instance, the Israeli government operative was providing expert testimony about Hamas money laundering (the accused was on trial in America). In another instance, the Israelis were operatives who had information about an accused drug smuggler.

In any case, the sixth amendment doesn't have to apply to the Israelis, it only has to apply to the person who is accused and on trial in our courts, and it has to apply the lawyers. The prosecutor is bound by the law of the land, and the law says that if the prosecutor presents a witness, the defense must be able to investigate them and cross-examine them. If the prosecutor has a witness that can't be cross-examined or investigated, they simply can't present them (or special arangements have to be made). The law gives certain rights to the defense, and those rights cannot be discarded when it suits the needs of the prosecutor.

How can the defense, or the accused, respond to allegations delivered by 'a little bird' who won't be produced by the prosecutors? Without this standard, the prosecutors could just start making stuff up ("A sooper-secret Agent named Winpenny delivered a note to me through the airducts in the bathroom just now, and it proves beyond any shadow of doubt that the accused is, in fact, guilty. He's gone now, on his way to the moonbase, and he's not available for cross-examination because of the sooper-secret nature of his work. Take my word for it.")

That's what it comes down to, 'take my word for it' and forget everything else. Why not dispense entirely with notions of a trial, and just send everyone to jail immediately on the word of the prosecutor? It would save a ton of money, and if we're going to end up there anyway, why not skip all the formalities and do away with the circus act?


posted on Dec, 26 2006 @ 11:30 PM
If this is happening in US courts and to US citizens . . . then. . . I will be outraged too.

And I agree that is BS what they are trying to do.

posted on Dec, 26 2006 @ 11:32 PM
WyrdeOne thanks for clearing the sixth amendment up these things aren't well known to those who live outside of the USA.

Cheers xpert11.

posted on Dec, 27 2006 @ 02:36 AM

Originally posted by xpert11
I'm confused as to how the Sixth Amendment can apply to people who aren't US citizens that is unless the Israeli agents are US citizens.
Anyway if the likes of security agents are going to be witnesses the trial should be held behind closed doors and the records kept secret. This would allow for a fair trial and secrecy.

Wouldnt this still be a violation of the 6th amendment? Afterall, it is supposed to be public to prevent a charade.
Anyway, yes this is ludicrous and their testimonies should be stricken.

[edit on 27-12-2006 by XphilesPhan]

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