Amidst a backdrop of modern day omnipresent surveillance, Closed Circuit reveals what attorneys already know. Today’s justice is generally just an illusion of smoke and mirrors with the innocent dying and the guilty running the show.
At a time when the world has learned that Western Jurisprudence too often results in death or long jail sentences for the innocent and unlimited rights for the guilty, Closed Circuit goes behind the scenes to show the kind of corruption that has taken the place of justice in our society.
In Closed Circuit, two defense attorneys (Martin Rose: Eric Bana; Claudia Simmons-Howe: Rebecca Hall) are expected to play the game of allowing their government to cover-up its own involvement in a terrorist bombing. Soon they are forced to come to terms with what the world has too often seen: that Western Governments are willing to kill informed innocents to keep truth hidden. Edward Snowden and Julian Assange now have to live under the protection of foreign governments because they know too much and have been too honest about what they know. Likewise, the attorneys in Closed Circuit discover for themselves how far their government will go to keep the public in the dark. In the movie, as in reality, truth rarely has anything to do with an outcome that has been orchestrated behind the scenes in advance with little regard for the actual facts of the case. The public often thinks they have the power to affect the outcome – unaware that strings already have been pulled, decisions have already been made before the first witness has been called, and all that remains is a show, a performance, for their benefit.
Eric Bana‘s character Martin Rose takes over the defense of a terrorist suspect after a prior defense attorney supposedly kills himself. Rose quickly discovers the suspect is an MI5 agent who is keeping silent to protect himself and his family within the context of a hoax prosecution. But knowing the truth is a deadly thing – as governments are willing to kill and torture to keep the public in the dark. Ask Lynne Stewart. Ask Bradley Manning. Ask Julian Assange. Ask Edward Snowden.
Though the case in the movie takes place within the British Judiciary, it is also reminiscent of American Justice. Didn’t Bradley Manning just get 35 years for informing the public that the American Government had been involved in collateral murder and other illegal activities? Didn’t Edward Snowden have to seek asylum in Russia to protect himself from the Espionage Act of 1917 – just because he let us know our government was watching us? Mumia Abu Jamal did too good a job of reporting on police corruption and then he was framed. Though the truth has come out, he is not being released. Troy Davis, another man known to be innocent, was executed. Why are the innocent being executed?
And if you are an honest attorney, watch out. Lynne Stewart, an attorney tortured for representing a client the government wanted unrepresented, is likely to die in government custody for having the integrity to follow the rules of professional conduct.
Popular reporter Janet Phelan has acquired a reputation for exposing U.S. Government cover-ups, bio-terrorism and other criminal activity our leaders don’t want people to know. Ms. Phelan has been the victim of injustice herself, Her mother’s life and life savings were taken away as a result of bogus rulings in Riverside in a court that did not even have jurisdiction but made decisions anyway. LIke Joanna Reeae, the reporter played by Julia Stiles in Closed Circuit, Janet Phelan has risked her life to investigate corruption at the highest levels of our government. Recently Ms. Phelan has exposed a cover-up concerning an alleged Syrian gas attack. The world will be watching to make sure Janet remains safe.
I, myself, have observed flagrant violations of law within the courts as if justice is public enemy number one. Women are the most common victims of miscarriages of justice. Domestic violence victims are as good as dead or destroyed the moment they dare to file for a restraining order against their husbands. If they survive getting the order, they soon learn that the laws regarding support and distribution of property are ignored by judges who give the money to batterers and then provide justice only on behalf of those they have suited up with big bucks. Attempts on women’s lives and restraining order violations are ignored as a rule by law enforcement. In Florida, Marissa Alexander got 20 years for firing a warning shot into the ceiling to try to scare her abuser from violating her again. Didn’t they arrest and try the wrong person in her case? Oh right, she’s the woman. For an abuse victim the only way out of domestic violence is death for herself and her loved ones as her abuser profits from their deaths. I’ve seen way too much of that.
In not addressing the impropriety of the massive surveillance, Closed Circuit drives in the point that such surveillance has become the norm. It’s no longer out of the ordinary to find your every move in public has been photographed by a government that doesn’t trust you. Though the movie takes place in London, the surveillance is here in the United States – though you may not be aware of it. Informing the public that their government is violating the Constitution and laws in its mistreatment of them is considered espionage- even though the surveillance is illegal under the Constitution of the United States – a document now treated with contempt by the government of the United States.
Closed Circuit will keep you glued to the screen as the main characters try to stay alive while coming up with a solution to the bogus prosecution. The audience craves justice but knows justice does not exist in a world where the court system is used by the power elite and the rich at the expense of those it was supposed to be designed to protect.
There is one lack of realism in the movie. There are two honest attorneys and they both work in the same town. As someone who used to practice law, I have been shocked to learn how few honest attorneys are left. Most have simply quit because they don’t want to continue to practice in a system of total corruption. Today, in California, you often find most attorneys are lazy. They cover-up their incompetence with lies. Then there are those attorneys who take bribes to destroy their clients. The statute of limitations for legal malpractice is one of the shortest – fixing a corrupt system against honest, unsuspecting clients. American law has become a legally-enforced monopoly of the corrupt, with most attorneys caring very little, if they care at all, about anything but money and leisure. Rarely do you find an attorney who has even a modicum of integrity. I recently told the Bar that I wanted to see the profession cleaned up. If anyone comes across an honest attorney, let me know that attorney’s name. I’d like to have a third one to add to my list. But don’t hold your breath if you need one. A priest or an undertaker would be more effective.
To wrap up this review, go see this move and bring ten friends.
This first appeared at Digital Journal