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Politics vs. Justice: Spotlighting The Holder Confirmation Hearings

by buhdydharma at Docudharma, Wed Jan 14, 2009

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Docudharma Tag: petition for a special prosecutor for background

First let me say that we want Eric Holder confirmed as Attorney General. We want him confirmed because of statements like this…

Washington, D.C. — Eric H. Holder Jr., Deputy Attorney General during the Clinton administration, asserted in a speech to the American Constitution Society (ACS) that the United States must reverse “the disastrous course” set by the Bush administration in the struggle against terrorism by closing the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, declaring without qualification that the U.S. does not torture people, ending the practice of transferring individuals involuntarily to countries that engage in torture and ceasing warrantless domestic surveillance.

“Our needlessly abusive and unlawful practices in the ‘War on Terror’ have diminished our standing in the world community and made us less, rather than more, safe,” Holder told a packed room at the ACS 2008 Convention on Friday evening. “For the sake of our safety and security, and because it is the right thing to do, the next president must move immediately to reclaim America’s standing in the world as a nation that cherishes and protects individual freedom and basic human rights.”

We want the man who said those words to be our next Attorney General. Because in truth and in a logical world the best way, perhaps the only way, to “reclaim America’s standing in the world as a nation that cherishes and protects individual freedom and basic human rights”…..is to investigate and then prosecute those who have criminally destroyed that standing. They destroyed it by using torture.

For those of you still on the fence as to whether the Bush Administration engaged in actual torture as opposed to merely “Enhanced Interrogation,” I offer this statement released today by a Bush appointee.

The top Bush administration official in charge of deciding whether to bring Guantanamo Bay detainees to trial has concluded that the U.S. military tortured a Saudi national who allegedly planned to participate in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, interrogating him with techniques that included sustained isolation, sleep deprivation, nudity and prolonged exposure to cold, leaving him in a “life-threatening condition.”

We tortured [Mohammed al-]Qahtani,” said Susan J. Crawford, in her first interview since being named convening authority of military commissions by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates in February 2007. “His treatment met the legal definition of torture.”

One of the arguments made in defense of the Bush Administrations official policy of torture that first surfaced at Abu Ghraib is that it was “a few bad apples.”


Bush: I Personally Authorized Torture Of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed

In an interview with Brit Hume that aired today on Fox News Sunday, President Bush admitted that he personally authorized the torture of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. He said he personally asked “what tools” were available to use on him, and sought legal approval for waterboarding him:

  BUSH: One such person who gave us information was Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. … And I’m in the Oval Office and I am told that we have captured Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the professionals believe he has information necessary to secure the country. So I ask what tools are available for us to find information from him and they gave me a list of tools, and I said are these tools deemed to be legal? And so we got legal opinions before any decision was made.

KARL: Did you authorize the tactics that were used against Khalid Sheikh Mohammed?

CHENEY: I was aware of the program, certainly, and involved in helping get the process cleared, as the agency in effect came in and wanted to know what they could and couldn’t do. And they talked to me, as well as others, to explain what they wanted to do. And I supported it.

All of their false claims of legality come from one source, their own pet lawyers. Much of whose legal “work” has already been destroyed by the Supreme Court. Their only claim to legality comes from complicit lawyers in the White House and in the now famously corrupt and politicized Department of Justice.

The Department of Justice that Eric Holder has now been nominated to lead.  

A Department of Justice that should, unlike the DOJ under Bush, be independent of political concerns. As Obama himself acknowledges..

OBAMA: What I — I think my general view when it comes to my attorney general is he is the people’s lawyer. Eric Holder’s been nominated. …His job is to uphold the Constitution and look after the interests of the American people, not to be swayed by my day-to-day politics. So, ultimately, he’s going to be making some calls….

The Attorney General does NOT, unlike the DOJ under Bush, work for the President. He works for The People of the United States. And he works for justice. Non-partisan, non-politicized justice, with no other agenda other than serving justice and representing the legal interests of the American people.

In a logical sane and rational world….a non-politicized world….AG Holder’s task would be clear cut. A “slam dunk” if you will.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers has just released a 487 page report (NOTE: pdf file) whose table of contents clearly spells out what must be on AG Holders agenda in both reforming the DOJ and to effectively “reclaim America’s standing in the world as a nation that cherishes and protects individual freedom and basic human rights.”:

Hiring and Firing of U.S. Attorneys and other Department Personnel

Selective Prosecution

Politicization of the Prosecution Function

Politicization of the Civil Rights Division and Voting Rights Enforcement


Enhanced Interrogation

Ghosting and Black Sites

Extraordinary Rendition

Warrantless Domestic Surveillance

National Security Letters (NSLs) and Exigent Letters

Use of Signing Statements

Midnight Rulemaking

The Leak of Valerie Plame Wilson’s Covert CIA Identity

Improper Use of State Secrets and Other Authorities

Manipulation and Misuse of Intelligence

All of these charges have been well documented and backed up with evidence. In addition to the admissions by Bush and Cheney of authorizing an entire network of torture and torture facilities. There is no question that crimes have been committed. The only questions left are what to do about it….and if we can overcome the politics that surround and protect the Bush Administration’s crimes.

We The People want Eric Holder confirmed as the nex
t Attorney General of the United States.

IF Attorney General Holder will uphold his statements of principle. Especially as to his objections to “Our needlessly abusive and unlawful practices in the ‘War on Terror'”

However, thanks to the efforts of George Bush, Dick Cheney, Rumsfeld, Addington, Yoo and Bybee….we do NOT live in a logical sane and rational world, a non-politicized world. They have succeeded, so far, in muddying what should be crystal clear water. The evidence is there. Will we as a people and a country under the Rule of Law ignore it?

Due to politics and separate from any question of law, AG Designate Holder may not be able to directly come out at the confirmation hearings and state that he will even investigate these crimes, but he must be asked the question. In the muddied waters of our current political environment it would be political suicide to directly state that he will pursue justice. How low we as a nation have sunk into those muddy waters when the chief law enforcement officer of the United States of America must not, for purely political reasons, openly state that he will pursue criminals.

He cannot state his intentions openly, yet he has to be asked the question posed by Bob Fertik of Democrats.com on Obama’s website, over seventy thousand people have voted for it to be asked:

“Will you appoint a Special Prosecutor — ideally Patrick Fitzgerald — to independently investigate the gravest crimes of the Bush Administration, including torture and warrantless wiretapping,”

There is an internet campaign by The Center for Constitutional Rights and by The Pen urging us to call (800-828-0498 or 800-473-6711 ) the following Senators and urge them to ask that question:

1) Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (RI)

2) Senator Dick Durbin (IL)

3) Senator Patrick Leahy (VT)

4) Senator Russ Feingold (WI)

Over 15,000 people have signed The Citizens Petition: Special Prosecutor for Bush War Crimes. Obama was asked the question by George Stephanopoulos. It has been covered by the New York Times. As the inauguration approaches and the muddy waters start to clear, momentum is building for accountability.

We have in Eric Holders confirmation hearing a chance to make our voices heard even more in this quest for accountability. Please take this opportunity to add your voice.

We do NOT want to torpedo Eric Holders chances of becoming Attorney General. But we DO want to make sure he lives up to his statements and principles. Please take this opportunity to let the Senators on the Judiciary Committee and AG designate Holder know that you support the appointment of a Special Prosecutor to investigate the crimes of the Bush Administration.

Sign the petition, call the above Senators and your own representatives, and make your voice, and the voices of your fellow citizens, heard.

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Docudharma Tag: petition for a special prosecutor for background