Are these the lessons to be learnt by the Trudeau Liberals from the Obama Democrats on corporate lawlessness? Let us all hope not…
In April of 2010 twenty-nine miners were killed in one of the worst mining incidents in a forty year span. This took place at the Massey Energy Upper Big Branch mine, in West Virginia. It was so horrific that President Barack Obama and V.P. Joe Biden went to West Virginia to eulogize the victims.
President Obama assured Americans that “the U.S. Department of Labor would conduct “the most thorough and comprehensive investigation possible” and work with the U.S. Department of Justice to address any criminal violations.”
These deaths were not an accident as the Mine Safety and Health Administration determined that there had been a build up of methane and coal dust which had caused the explosion. This event should not have happened. It was stated that there had been some 300 plus violations which had led to and/or was cause of this lose of life, 9 of which were directly involved with the explosion.
To fully understand the extent of the wrong doing I am quoting David M. Uhmann’s report in hopes that his words will express the gravity of this lawlessness.
“…despite Massey’s poor safety … record, the Upper Big Branch mining disaster stood out as a shocking example of corporate lawlessness. Massey routinely provided employees advance notice of MSHA inspections at the Upper Big Branch mine, which is a federal crime, so that safety violations could be concealed from inspectors. Massey intimidated its workers so that they would not report safety and health violations to MSHA. The company also kept two sets of books at the Upper Big Branch mine – perhaps the most egregious evidence of criminal intent in regulatory cases – one for internal use that noted violations and one for safety inspectors that did not.
The MSHA found that the Upper Big Branch tragedy occurred because Massey allowed unsafe working conditions to persist, and because it ignored other safety measures that would have prevented the explosion and the resulting loss of life. … Methane accumulated and became explosive because Massey failed to provide adequate ventilation or roof control in the mine.” The methane subsequently ignited because Massey used a shearing device that was missing seven water spray nozzles and therefore did not have adequate water pressure to move methane away from the shearer and prevent sparking. Further, Massey allowed dangerous levels of loose coal, coal dust, and float coal dust to accumulate over the days, weeks, and months leading up to the explosion, providing an enormous fuel source for the deadly blast that killed miners nearly a mile from the methane release and ignition.”
“…On that basis alone, criminal prosecution would have been warranted. Massey also engaged in a deliberate, long-standing, and deceitful effort to thwart the mine safety laws that were enacted to prevent exactly this kind of tragedy…
Instead, on the same day that MSHA issued a 972-page investigative report that lay bare the lawlessness that occurred within Massey, the Justice Department announced that it was entering a non-prosecution agreement with the new owners of Massey and therefore would not bring criminal charges against the company. The United States Attorney justified the non-prosecution because Massey’s new owners had agreed to enhance its compliance programs and described the non-prosecution agreement as “the largest-ever resolution in a criminal investigation of a mine disaster. But there was no mistaking the outcome: there would be no criminal charges brought against Massey, no guilty plea or admission of liability by Massey, and no sentencing hearing where the families of the victims could address the court about their suffering,…”
“… The failure to prosecute Massey sent a terrible message about how our society views corporate misconduct and sowed doubts about the Justice Department’s commitment to address corporate crime. … If it was not appropriate to prosecute Massey for its crimes, it is difficult for me to envision when criminal prosecution of any corporation would be warranted.
The Justice Department’s deal with Massey continues a disturbing trend where corporations avoid criminal charges by entering deferred prosecution or non-prosecution agreements. … The terms of the agreements are attractive to the government, because they often provide large penalties, …, and promises of cooperation by the companies involved. But plea agreements – the preferred approach prior to the last decade – can offer the same benefits to the government without making it appear that large companies can buy their way out of criminal prosecution.”
And this is why deferred prosecutions are so dangerous. Now a look at the SNC Lavalin case in Canada.
From reports SNC Lavalin had, in 2008, paid approx., $30,000 for sexual services (prostitutes) in Canada for Saadi Gadhafi, the son of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi. For these favours, and favours worth millions, Gadhafi secured billions of dollars’ worth of contracts for SNC. There were also, allegedly, “millions in bribes to Libyan officials” by SNC to ensure they got the contracts.
The problem with all of this is – this could very well be the tip of the ice-berg, in Canada, as has been shown by the actions in the U.S., couldn’t it? With Trudeau putting pressure on the then Attorney General, Jody Wilson Raybould, to allow SNC a deferred prosecution isn’t this going down a path of continued and even worsening corporate lawlessness in Canada?
This is why, no matter what the reason, there should be no avenue for a deferred prosecution and isn’t it merely Barack Obama showing Justin Trudeau how to make something unlawful lawful? We must remember the illegal donations made by SNC to the Liberal Party so one can only speculate as to what other gifts might be involved, couldn’t one?
It would seem Obama and the Democrats have taught his/their protégé, Trudeau and the Liberal party, well, doesn’t it, considering the Liberals enacted deferred prosecution measures in 2018 for, what some consider, SNC itself?
Elizabeth F. Marshall, Non-Partisan Advocate, Director of Research Ontario Landowners Association, Author – “Property Rights 101: An Introduction”, Board Member/Secretary – Canadian Justice Review Board, Legal Research – Green and Associates Law Offices, etc.,, Legislative Researcher – MPs, MPPs, Municipal Councilors, President All Rights Research Ltd., I am not a lawyer and do not give legal advice. Any information relayed is for informational purposes only. Please contact a lawyer.