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27 January 2015


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Col. Lang

If the casual observer reached the same conclusion
as you,what reasoning if any prompted the jury to
convict. Was the jury polled or any members interviewed.
National security fears? Picked the right jurors (OJ)


Steve G

I was not in the jury room. How would I know? In re the jury, I was present in the courthouse during voir dire. There were many Blacks in the potential jury pool. None were selected. Why? As Stein observes the Northern Virginia area is full of people who are or were connected to the national security establishment and who often are contractors for the same. Let's face it. Many people believe that if you oppose the government's will you will pay for that. pl


This appears to be another step towards erasing the differences between ourselves and those other nations we are repeatedly told are bad places. Jury selection is certainly key but even electing to prosecute to begin with reeks of government thuggery.

FB Ali

A shame!

It seems that in the US now: once security comes in, justice flies out of the window.


In the trial I watched, I found jury selection one of the most interesting events. I learned there are even specialist for this task by now. ;)

I guess my perception of jurors was partly shaped by Sidney Lumet's classic that in Germany was titled The 12 Jurors, not 12 Angry Men.

But yes, I am a bit hesitant about the idea of the elections of prosecutors. It doesn't feel that is such a good idea. On the other hand I wouldn't trust every prosecutor or judge over here, and they aren't elected. Just as I am aware, if you dare to open the wrong files and agree to take it as a criminal case, you can occasionally wind up as a judge for juveniles after.


Another story in which the CIA surfaces.

It may interest some here:


Deborah Mefferd

This is very depressing.

The Twisted Genius

This is shameful, more like some kangaroo court in a two bit banana republic. Well, General Cartwright should be a shoe in for a hundred year sentence. He really did release classified info that seriously injured our cyber offensive capabilities. Petraeus ought to being his affairs in order, too. Armitage shouldn't be making any long term plans either.



Norman Soloman said some the CIA agents testified behind a screen to hide their identities. Is that true?



Some CIA witnesses testified behind a screen and some not. pl

William R. Cumming

L.! United States Attorneys and Assistant U.S. Attorneys are not elected but appointed officials.

William R. Cumming

P.L.! Well my conclusion that Jeffery Sterling would not be convicted obviously in error but there may be grounds for an appeal.

Outwardly it looks as if Sterling being punished for his earlier claim of discrimination by CIA officialdom.

What happened to the right to confront witnesses against you?

William R. Cumming

It would be of interest to me to know if any Jurors held personnel security clearances?



As for clearances, I don't know. I was not in the room for voir dire. Sterling sat on the side of the screen where he could see the witnesses. pl


A more personal note, Pat. For whatever reason, I consider it the most serious misjudgment that they did not call you to the stand, as Jeff Stein reports. I was wondering about that, admittedly. He told me.

Should I ponder about corruption in this context? Or is it simply another case of easy-case-pre-celebration. Or whatever fast misguided fast judgment may have been involved?

robt willmann

From the comments above, it appears as if there were some black people on the group of potential jurors from which the jury was selected, but that none of them were on the jury panel that heard and decided the case.

This raises the possibility of a "Batson" error in the trial, both for a motion for new trial and for an appeal, depending on the approach taken by the defense attorneys when the jury was being picked.

Actually, a jury is not "selected" but is determined by a process of elimination. When the group of people from which the jury will come is asked questions, sometimes the person is removed "for cause", which is some legally justifiable reason that the person should not be a juror. This sometimes results in an amusing back-and-forth as one lawyer who does not want that person on the jury tries to lead the juror down the primrose path into saying things that would disqualify the person, and then the lawyer for the other party tries to lead the person down the path to say things that indicate that he or she is not biased and can qualify to be on the jury.

Each side is allowed a certain number of "peremptory challenges", or "strikes", or "scratches", which means that a party can eliminate a person from being on the jury without the judge deciding if the person should be removed for cause. After the potential jurors have been questioned and any have been removed "for cause", the lawyers and clients go into separate rooms and privately go down the list of the remaining jurors and "strike off" or "scratch off" the names of the prospective jurors they do not want on the jury. Then, each party's list is given to the clerk of the court, who takes the remaining jurors who have not been scratched off -- beginning with the first person on the list -- and those people who have not been eliminated, are the ones who will be on the jury.

Since, generally speaking, black people in the U.S. do not automatically believe everything a police officer or government official says from the witness stand in a trial, prosecutors would often use their discretionary peremptory challenges to strike off and remove all the black prospective jurors so that none would be on the jury.

This problem eventually was raised in an appeal and the U.S. Supreme Court in 1986 ruled that "the Equal Protection Clause forbids the prosecutor to challenge potential jurors solely on account of their race or on the assumption that black jurors as a group will be unable impartially to consider the State's case against a black defendant." The case was Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79 (1986), and you can read it here--


This changed jury selection. After the State or government uses their strikes, the defendant or other party will check and see if any Blacks were removed, and if so, can object and make a "Batson challenge" to the fact that the prosecutor scratched off a prospective black juror. The prosecutor then has to stand up and with a straight face state a "racially neutral" explanation for why the black person was eliminated. The judge then decides whether to agree with the objection or not. You can imagine that all sorts of "reasons" are given, and there has of course been litigation and appeals over whether the alleged explanation really makes sense.


WRC, yes I was aware this was a different type of prosecution. And yes, I didn't assume they are elected. A different case was on the back of my mind.


"Since, generally speaking ..."

I am sure, they were removed for cause, somehow along the lines of your above suggestion.

Not much, but a little:

What shocks me most, at least to the extend I checked, online news, is the endless repetition of the government's allegations.


In the selection process I watched--thanks to Florida sunshine law--the prosecution did not even use all the strikes they had. ... but there was worse to come.

From the defense's side media was the top issue: Fox was solidly good on the opposite site MSNBC, NPR and even worse BBC occasionally, bye, bye.



I'm furious. Tomorrow when I get a chance I'm going to post the names of some of the people who had the information and did not share it to prevent this. They were promoted as well.


Cee, Jeff Stein is a great mind, not least since he does not try to fill gaps.

There was one passage I found interesting, if I recall correctly, his allusion to someone's promotion. We have a proverb for that: falling up the stairs, your "to get an unexpected promotion" seems to not quite fit the idea. I once read a Swiss variant: promote away.

It may well be that our "suspicious mind" is correct in that context, although we hardly ever have a chance to check.

Without doubt the "uppers" have a reason to promote their "lowers" in some cases, since they bear the ultimate responsibility. Thus it could be some type of you help me, I help you. But strictly that is beyond our grasp, or facts to prove it, and may not leave traces.

Secrecy of course always results in rumors. I wondered at one point if the Bush jun. admin simply leaned back and enjoyed the collective brainstorming trying to fill in the gaps.



They have basically promoted the exact same people who have presided over the … failure,” says a former Justice Department official, “and those individuals took the same thinking with them.


Just as with the financial crisis, no one has been punished, and the people who screwed up have been allowed to fail upwards.


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