A Wall Street bank accused of laundering money for drug cartels only had to pay a fine. Meanwhile, a man caught with a joint in his pocket had to spend 47 days in jail.
These were the simple facts pointed out by Matt Taibbi on the Jon Stewart show as he criticized the Justice Department for its failure to criminally prosecute HSBC after the bank admitted to laundering billions of dollars.
“[HSBC] admitted it. They did it,” Taibbi said. “If you have a malefactor who is admitting to laundering $850 million for the Mexican drug cartel and [someone's] not going to jail, you should be ashamed if you’re a prosecutor.”
To heighten his point, Taibbi went to a Manhattan courthouse and looked for a drug case being heard that day. "They found a guy for me who'd been caught walking in the street with a joint in his pocket -- he got 47 days in [jail]," Taibbi recalled. "That's worse than anything that happened to anyone at HSBC, and they're at the top of the illegal drugs pyramid." Matt Taibbi recently exposed the hypocrisy of the "drug war" in an essay for the Rolling Stone-- I'm sure going to miss his muckraking for that venerable magazine (why he hasn't won a Pulitzer for his Rolling Stone work is beyond me).
If the Supreme Court says that corporations are "people", then why can't someone go to jail if the corporation has committed a felony? And if people from these soulless corporations don't go to jail for these crimes, they're emboldened to continue committing them. And that's just what has happened with HSBC-- last year, HSBC agreed to a settlement with the Treasury Department for transferring funds on behalf of financiers for the militant group Hezbollah. How soon do you think it will be until HSBC gets caught committing another felony?