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Tell Attorney General Holder to be a hero: Investigate. Or, Resign.

"Our government authorized the use of torture...secretly detained American citizens without due process of law, denied the writ of habeas corpus to hundreds of accused 'enemy combatants,' and authorized the use of procedures that both violate international law and the United States Constitution.
...We owe the American people a reckoning" -Eric Holder, June 2008

One of the (if not, THE) greatest failures of the Obama Administration, in my eyes, is the failure to bring a "reckoning" as it relates to abuses of human rights, chiefly: the formation and carrying out of a systematic detention and torture regime around the globe.

The record and reality is so abundantly clear by now, that it almost bears no repeating. But that is such a goddamn shame in and of itself, and the issue is so serious, that I'm going to.

The Bush Administration ordered:

  1. the apprehension and rendition of individuals to nations with a history of torture
  1. the secret detention of some of those individuals indefinitely without trial, some of them Americans
  1. the torturing of individuals, some for the sole purpose of obtaining false confessions to be used as lies to instigate an illegal and unnecessary war of aggression against a sovereign nation
  1. the assassination of US citizens

And more.

And all of that has been deemed acceptable as the "New Normal", by both a Congress that failed to hold a President to account and a new President and Justice Department that has not only failed to uphold the rule of law, but also gone so far as to defend and extend abuses of it...in some cases, for the sake of political expediency.

[...]
But as Holder considered launching an investigation, he immediately began to feel pushback from the White House. Behind the scenes, as Jane Mayer has reported in The New Yorker, Emanuel barked to an intermediary, "Didn't he get the memo that we're not relitigating the past?" And appearing on the Sunday-morning talk shows in April, Emanuel pressed the issue publicly, insisting that the authors of the torture memos "should not be prosecuted. This is not a time for retribution." At the White House podium, press secretary Robert Gibbs chimed in, "Those that followed the legal advice and acted in good faith on that legal advice shouldn't be prosecuted."

To call these comments inappropriate would be to praise the White House with faint damnation. Just a few years earlier, the Bush team had ignited a national scandal when political operatives tried to influence U.S. attorneys, yet the Obama administration had gone a step further, allowing operatives to apply political pressure on the attorney general himself.
[...]

It's the job of Attorney General, who serves at the pleasure of the President, to be the chief law enforcement officer in the United States.

Attorney General Eric Holder needs to do his job, and enforce the law (and not just the ones that are unconstitutional!). Even if that happens to inconveniently interfere with what should be the irrelevant political considerations of a President and his administration, an "offense" that might well cost him the very job he should be doing... instead of heading up whitewashes to cover up law breaking.

[...]
Behind closed doors, however, a very different picture emerged. In his private conversations with Durham, Holder had dramatically limited the scope of the investigation—so much, in fact, that the prosecutor was forbidden to examine the torture policy at all.
[...]
But when I spoke with lawyers following the case, I found that many of them were unaware of those instructions. In June, for example, ten months after the investigation began, I was chatting with the ACLU's Ben Wizner, who has followed the torture issue closely, when I realized that he was still laboring under the illusion that Durham might be investigating the OLC lawyers. "After all," Wizner said, "we don't know for sure what Durham's mandate is."
I mentioned that I had asked Holder myself, and Wizner said, "What did he say?"
"That it's limited to rogue agents," I said.
"Just the people who went outside the memos?"
"Right."
"But not the architects?"
"Right."
Wizner exhaled loudly. "Well," he said, "then it's on him."

What I didn't mention is the other thing Holder told me: that the reason he limited the investigation was politics.
[...]

But if serving this President, a President who often opines about the rule of law, by upholding the rule of law happens to discomfort or displeasure the President enough to result in a request for resignation... Attorney General Holder should wear it as a badge of honor.

[...]
And then I remembered another moment, months earlier, sitting in his office on the heels of the KSM decision. Holder seemed deflated and tired, and in an attempt at humor, I pointed to the painting of Bobby Kennedy and made a joke about the independence of the attorney general. Holder bristled. "Some people say Bobby was pretty independent," he snapped.

I nodded, and he seemed to relax. "But yeah," he said, pointing at another painting across the room. "By contrast, Elliot Richardson."

As Nixon's third attorney general, Richardson lasted only five months, resigning in protest when the president ordered him to fire the Watergate prosecutor. "He has just one year under his name," Holder mused. "There's no dash. There's no hyphen. He lasted just a number of months, but he did the job. He did the absolute right thing. When asked to do something he felt was inconsistent with his oath as attorney general, he resigned."

Holder paused.

"So," he said quietly. "He's a hero."

But one way or the other: Attorney General Eric Holder should be a hero and investigate, or resign.

"Our government authorized the use of torture...secretly detained American citizens without due process of law, denied the writ of habeas corpus to hundreds of accused 'enemy combatants,' and authorized the use of procedures that both violate international law and the United States Constitution.
...We owe the American people a reckoning" -Eric Holder, June 2008

Tell Attorney General Holder to be a hero: Investigate. Or, Resign.

By Mail
Correspondence to the Department, including the Attorney General, may be sent to:

   U.S. Department of Justice
   950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
   Washington, DC 20530-0001

By Phone
Department of Justice Main Switchboard - 202-514-2000
Attorney General, Eric H. Holder, Jr., 202-514-2001
Office of the Attorney General Public Comment Line - 202-353-1555

By E-Mail
E-mails to the Department of Justice, including the Attorney General, may be sent to AskDOJ@usdoj.gov

Originally posted to SJerseyIndy on Mon Nov 15, 2010 at 06:51 PM PST.

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