Obama doesn’t want to look back, but Attorney General Eric Holder may probe Bush-era torture anyway.
Published Jul 11, 2009
From the magazine issue dated Jul 20, 2009
It’s the morning after Independence Day, and Eric Holder Jr. is feeling the weight of history. The night before, he’d stood on the roof of the White House alongside the president of the United States, leaning over a railing to watch fireworks burst over the Mall, the monuments to Lincoln and Washington aglow at either end. “I was so struck by the fact that for the first time in history an African-American was presiding over this celebration of what our nation is all about,” he says. Now, sitting at his kitchen table in jeans and a gray polo shirt, as his 11-year-old son, Buddy, dashes in and out of the room, Holder is reflecting on his own role. He doesn’t dwell on the fact that he’s the country’s first black attorney general. He is focused instead on the tension that the best of his predecessors have confronted: how does one faithfully serve both the law and the president?
Alone among cabinet officers, attorneys general are partisan appointees expected to rise above partisanship. All struggle to find a happy medium between loyalty and independence. Few succeed. At one extreme looms Alberto Gonzales, who allowed the Justice Department to be run like Tammany Hall. At the other is Janet Reno, whose righteousness and folksy eccentricities marginalized her within the Clinton administration. Lean too far one way and you corrupt the office, too far the other way and you render yourself impotent. Mindful of history, Holder is trying to get the balance right. “You have the responsibility of enforcing the nation’s laws, and you have to be seen as neutral, detached, and nonpartisan in that effort,” Holder says. “But the reality of being A.G. is that I’m also part of the president’s team. I want the president to succeed; I campaigned for him. I share his world view and values.”
These are not just the philosophical musings of a new attorney general. Holder, 58, may be on the verge of asserting his independence in a profound way. Four knowledgeable sources tell NEWSWEEK that he is now leaning toward appointing a prosecutor to investigate the Bush administration’s brutal interrogation practices, something the president has been reluctant to do. While no final decision has been made, an announcement could come in a matter of weeks, say these sources, who decline to be identified discussing a sensitive law-enforcement matter. Such a decision would roil the country, would likely plunge Washington into a new round of partisan warfare, and could even imperil Obama’s domestic priorities, including health care and energy reform. Holder knows all this, and he has been wrestling with the question for months. “I hope that whatever decision I make would not have a negative impact on the president’s agenda,” he says. “But that can’t be a part of my decision.”
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Posted in America, bush, iraq war, war, war crimes, tagged Afghanistan, book, bush, Chris Hedges, iraq, Iraq Veterans Against the War, military, Religion, war on June 2, 2009|
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The crisis faced by combat veterans returning from war is not simply a profound struggle with trauma and alienation. It is often, for those who can slice through the suffering to self-awareness, an existential crisis. War exposes the lies we tell ourselves about ourselves. It rips open the hypocrisy of our religions and secular institutions. Those who return from war have learned something which is often incomprehensible to those who have stayed home. We are not a virtuous nation. God and fate have not blessed us above others. Victory is not assured. War is neither glorious nor noble. And we carry within us the capacity for evil we ascribe to those we fight.
Those who return to speak this truth, such as members of Iraq Veterans Against the War, are our contemporary prophets. But like all prophets they are condemned and ignored for their courage. They struggle, in a culture awash in lies, to tell what few have the fortitude to digest. They know that what we are taught in school, in worship, by the press, through the entertainment industry and at home, that the melding of the state’s rhetoric with the rhetoric of religion, is empty and false.
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Posted in AIPAC, Cheney, CIA, Conservatives, Constitution of the United States, iraq war, Israel, tagged bush, Iran, Israel, Israel Iran Middle East U.S., Middle East, Policy, us on May 2, 2009|
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“O.I.L.” August 19, 2007
In a television interview with Tucker Carlson on MSNBC, McGovern said: “I‘ve been using the acronym O.I.L. for many — for two years now: O for oil; I for Israel; and L for logistics, logistics being the permanent — now we say “enduring” — military bases that the U.S. wants to keep in Iraq.”
McGovern testified at a Democratic National Headquarters forum in 2005 that had been convened by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) of the House Judiciary Committee on the Downing Street Memo.
The Washington Post reported that, in his testimony, McGovern “declared that the United States went to war in Iraq for oil, Israel and military bases craved by administration ‘neocons’ so ‘the United States and Israel could dominate that part of the world.’ He said that Israel should not be considered an ally and that Bush was doing the bidding of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. ‘Israel is not allowed to be brought up in polite conversation,’ McGovern said. Genuine criticism of official Israeli policy is often portrayed as if it were anti-Semite bigotry: ‘The last time I did this, the previous director of Central Intelligence called me anti-Semitic.'”
McGovern described the incident with former Director of Central Intelligence James Woolsey in an article in CounterPunch:
I thought of the debate I had on Iraq with arch-neoconservative and former CIA Director James Woolsey on PBS’ Charlie Rose Show on August 20, when I broke the taboo on mentioning Israel and was immediately branded “anti-Semitic” by Woolsey. Reflecting later on his accusation, it seemed almost OK since it was so blatantly ad hominem. And his attack was all the more transparent, coming from the self-described “anchor of the Presbyterian wing of JINSA” — the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, a strong advocate of war to eliminate all perceived enemies of Israel — like Iraq.
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Posted in Cheney, Keith Olbermann, Torture, Video, tagged bush, Cheney, Countdown 3/30/09, Jonathan Turley, Keith Olbermann, MSNBC's Countdown, Seymor Hersh, Torture, Video on March 31, 2009|
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Turley: Spanish courts may be building case against Cheney
Raw Story- David Edwards and Stephen C. Webster
Published: Tuesday March 31, 2009
According to constitutional law expert Jonathan Turley, the prosecution of Bush’s so-called “torture lawyers” might just give Spanish prosecutors the “low lying fruit” needed to bring a case against Vice President Cheney.
Appearing on Monday night’s edition of MSNBC’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann, George Washington University law professor Turley said that although President Obama is “protecting” the former administration from prosecution, the Spanish investigation could serve as a point of leverage.
By targeting attorneys who wrote legal justifications for torture, said Turley, prosecutors are going “for the first line of defendants.”
“And then if you have a case, you go for the higher ones,” he added.
Referencing Seymor Hersh’s allegation that an “executive assassination ring” reported directly to the former Vice President — and the apparent confirmation of the allegation’s veracity by a former Cheney aide — Olbermann wondered, “Should the Spanish prosecutors be taking notes?””
“It’s well known the Obama administration is protecting President Bush and Vice President Cheney from criminal investigation,” he concluded. “And if he went after the two of them, the U.S. government could move aggressively to shut down the inquiry.”
This video is from MSNBC’s Countdown, broadcast Mar. 30, 2009.
Vodpod videos no longer available.
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Posted in Barack Obama, Commentary, Drug Cartels, Environment, Great Depression 2008, Healthcare, Media, Obama Weekly Address, President Obama, Recession, Universal Health Care, Video, tagged Bilderberg, bush, Codex, Health, Herbs, illuminati, Microchips, Nutricide, Nutrition Supplements, NWO, Truth, Vitamins on March 14, 2009|
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by Geezer Power
Mr. Obama mentions “The Department of Agriculture will close a loophole to prevent diseased cows from entering the food supply And, the government will invest in the FDA to substantially increase the number of food inspectors and modernize food safety labs”. He also mentions “Americans can trust that there is a strong system in place to ensure that the medications we give our children will help them get better, not make them sick; and that a family dinner won’t end in a trip to the doctor’s office”. Also worthy of mention is “In 2006, it was contaminated spinach. In 2008, it was salmonella in peppers and possibly tomatoes. And just this year, bad peanut products led to hundreds of illnesses and cost nine people their lives”.
In keeping with the open and transparent objectives of our new administration, “Change We Can Believe In”, we would be remiss if we didn’t question the viability of the large agricultural corportions and their detrimental effects on our food supply. The use of genetically engineered crops, the use of hormones in animal food supplies, along with the use of antibiotics is reaching proportions that will effectively put the worlds food supply in peril. Recent legislation that is now before congress will stifle any efforts to promote natural and organic methods of food production.
For you senior readers, out there on the tubes, you probably remember that the government promoted the Victory Garden” to help the war effort. We didn’t have any genes, hormones, or herbicides, at that time and home gardens produced one third of the food for the country at that time. I might mention that water didn’t cost much in those days, and was pretty much taken for granted, like…if you were thirsty you drank from the garden hose.
Keep in mind folks, that HR875, which if passed means that organic gardening methods and crops will be controlled by the Food Police. This legislation, now before congress, heavily influenced by lobbyists from huge food producers is so broad based that technically someone with a little backyard garden could get fined and have their property siezed.
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“While England Slept” was a phrase Churchill used to describe the state of somnambulence which existed in Britain while Hitler’s German made its preparations for wars of conquest in the east. JFK adapted this phrase to “Why England Slept” and used it as the title of his first book, based on a thesis he wrote during his senior year at Harvard. “While America Slept” might well describe the state of somnambulance which existed in America during the Bush years. While America slept, Bush used the largely bogus threat of “terror” as a pretext to surreptitiously put in place a whole host of tyrranous legislation…and did anyone give a flying you know what? Benjamin Franklin said, “The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.” That means, amongst other things, staying awake! One wonders what became of the spirit of the original Patriots in the American Revolution. America, the one-time “city on a hill” and beacon of liberty, has been a major disappointment to me in the last eight years. Here are a couple of articles on the subject.
Turley: Bush terror memos are ‘very definition of tyranny’
David Edwards and Muriel Kane | Raw Story | Thursday, March 5, 2009
Since the release on Monday of nine previously-secret Bush administration legal memos claiming that the president has the power to ignore the Constitution when fighting terrorism, experts have almost unanimously denounced both their legal reasoning and their conclusions.
Why Did So Few Americans Give a Damn?
William Pfaff | truthdig | March 5, 2009
The documents currently being released by the Justice Department that demonstrate the Bush administration’s view of the president’s constitutional power in a “state of war” tell us things we suspected but didn’t want to know.
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