The Treacherous & Terrible Legacy of AG Eric Holder
So after six years, Attorney General Eric Holder is resigning.
Tom Carter in “The legacy of US Attorney General Eric Holder” writes:
The New York Times editorial board, which was likely notified in advance, immediately issued a statement praising “Eric Holder’s Legacy.” The newspaper wrote: “As the first African-American to serve as the nation’s top law enforcement official, Mr. Holder broke ground the moment he took office… Mr. Holder has continued to stake out strong and laudable legal positions on many of the most contested issues of our time.”
While conceding that Holder’s legacy was “marred” by the targeted killing of civilians, the failure to prosecute Wall Street criminals and other “failures to act,” the Times waxed lyrical about Holder’s accomplishments in the field of same-sex marriage, voting rights and criminal justice.
Similar praise for Holder echoed throughout the Democratic Party establishment and its supporters in the “civil rights” milieu. Al Sharpton declared, “No attorney general has demonstrated a civil rights record that is similar to Eric Holder’s.”
Tom Carter’s response to this?
Calling Holder a “defender of civil rights” is like calling a rampaging bull a “defender of fine china.”
During his six-year term, Holder, as the head of the Obama administration’s Department of Justice, has presided over the most comprehensive and aggressive trampling of democratic rights in US history, as well as the buildup of the infrastructure of a police state.
He should be remembered as the most right-wing attorney general in US history thus far, a crusader for dictatorship and an enemy of the working class. For his role in the numerous conspiracies to subvert democratic rights, including with respect to the illegal assassinations of civilians, he deserves to be arrested, indicted and prosecuted.
Paul Street in “Nutty Professor Dyson’s Ridiculous Apology for Eric Holder” remarks on Holder’s and Obama’s profound contribution to our present “New Gilded Age of shocking inequality (racial as well as socioeconomic)” in which he points out how “mind-boggling corporate and financial criminality goes unpunished.”
Glen Ford in “Eric Holder’s Damnable Legacy: Impunity for the Rich and the Death of Due Process” asserts that the word “regression” does not begin to describe “the giant leap backward that is Eric Holder’s historical legacy.” Of both Holder and Obama, Ford passionately writes: “They have laid the legal cornerstones for fascism under the rule of the white filthy rich. Damn them to eternity!”
Ford points out that even the craven Bush administration recognized that they could never overtly push preventive detention through Congress. Betraying Dem leaders Holder and Obama managed to get it through. Ford declares “It’s as if the Magna Carta never happened.”
Paul Street explains Holder had been a little known attorney working for Bill Clinton’s neoliberal administration, while Clinton was enabling the corporate capture of American government. Street writes:
Holder would spend the years between Clinton and Obama serving giant corporations at the posh Washington D.C. law firm Covington & Burling. There Holder represented such entities as the pharmaceutical colossus Merck, the National Football League, Chiquita Brands International, and the massive Swiss private bank UBS.
Dave Lindorff in “Going, Going, Gone, But Let’s Not Forget Him/The Terrible Tenure of Eric Holder” speculates that Holder may opt to return to his old post as a partner at Covington & Burling. One more time, Lindorff laments, the revolving door between government regulators and enforcers and the industries they were supposed to be regulating will undoubtedly be operating.
So what is positive about Eric Holder’s tenure? He was supportive of same sex marriage. Apparently to the pimped out politicians on both sides of the aisle, the myopic lesser evilism apologists of the Obama administration, and a corporate-loving ever-propagandizing mainstream media Holder and his boss get a pass on all the rest of their craven and COLOSSAL damage to civil liberties, social and economic equality in America and domestic and international law.
Fasten your seat belt as we take a look at some dimensions of the Holder legacy.
1) Russell Mokhiber in “Why Doesn't Snowden Get the Same Deal, the DoJ Routinely Gives Major Corporate Crime Figures? Holder the Hypocrite" reveals that since taking office in Feb. 2009, Holder has extended many non-prosecution agreements -- whereby the government simply wrist slaps and collects a relatively modest fine without leveling a criminal charge -- to more than 100 large publicly held corporations. Here are some of Holder’s special deal partners:
JPMorgan Chase for the Madoff Ponzi scheme
Archer Daniels Midland for foreign bribery
Diebold for foreign bribery
UBS for interest rate manipulation
HSBC for money laundering
Pfizer for foreign bribery
Wachovia for money laundering
Tyson Foods for foreign bribery
Barclays Bank for Trading with the Enemies Act
Deutsche Bank for tax shelter fraud
According to Glen Ford the Justice Department has “institutionalized immunity from persecution for the ruling financial class.”
According to Dave Lindorff banks like HSBC (above) and Citicorp have laundered billions in drug money for drug cartels.
Holder successfully rationalized that criminal banks were simply “too big to fail” and that prosecution would have caused problems for “innocent shareholders.” According to Tom Carter no prominent financial figure has ever been prosecuted by the Holder Justice Department.
2. Paul Street points out that the fraud of the financial elite has lead to millions of foreclosures, job losses and a huge poverty spike among the US citizenry.
3. Holder in conjunction with the National Defense Authorization Act of 2011 has destroyed due process, our fifth amendment protection, by asserting that due process does not necessarily mean everyone criminally charged should have access to court. (Carter)
4. Holder helped to protect BP after its massive ecological disaster in the Gulf of Mexico (Carter).
5. Holder supports illegal assassinations of civilians. (Carter)
6. Holder supports massive militarization of the US police forces. (Lindorff).
7. Holders supports the use of military commissions. (Carter)
8. Holder worked against the First Amendment, with earnest prosecution efforts against whistlebowers and the journalists who use them, threatening both with jail. (Lindorff) Manning is in prison. Assange is trapped in the Ecuadorian embassay in London. Snowden is forced to live in exile in Russia. No non-prosecution deals like for the banks for these whistleblowers Russell Mokhiber points out. According to Tom Carter the Holder and Obama administration has prosecuted more whistleblowers under the Espionage Act than all previous administrations combined.
9. Holder assisted in restructuring the auto industry in which the wages of auto workers were brutally slashed. (Carter)
10. According to Bruce Dixon, Holder deported 2 million undocumented citizens after Obama had promised them a “road to citizenship.” (Dixon in "Eric Holder: Like the Rest of the Black Political Class – Powerful But Powerless")
11. Holder has targeted antiwar activists and protesters under the anti-terror laws. (Carter)
12. When Director of National Security James R. Clapper committed perjury before Congress in 2013 (a felony) Holder did not prosecute. (Carter)
13. According to Glen Ford even some right-wing Republicans have spoken out against mandatory sentencing and the “unsustainable growth in prison populations”. The US Congress perhaps would have been willing to repeal 100 to 1 crack cocaine penalties BUT it was Obama and Holder who opposed retroactive release of thousands of inmates convicted under the old law.
14. According to Glen Ford the Federal Bureau of Prisons comes under the US Department of Justice. Its budget has risen every year under Holder and Obama. In Obama’s home state of Illinois is a brutal supermax prison. Now there is a new supermax going up, a “landlocked Guantanamo North.” Additionally, Holder hasn’t submitted ANY names of long-serving political prisoners and has submitted VERY FEW non-political prisoners for clemency.
15. The CIA spied on the Congressional committee investigating the CIA -- but there has of course been no prosecution from Holder. (Carter)
16. Holder enabled the unconstitutional expansion of the military-intelligence apparatus. He promoted illegitimate executive branch and military intelligence secrecy from the citizenry and Congress. (Carter) Thanks to data released by Snowden and Wikleaks it has been shown that illegal surveillance has been used to build cases against Americans and that committing perjury to conceal illegal evidence is common among law enforcement officials. (Dixon)
17. Holder shielded GM in the wake of its ignition defect scandal. (Carter)
18. Holder enabled the unconstitutional expansion of executive power. Holder shielded war criminals from the Bush and Obama administrations. According to Tom Carter, Holder assured Bush era criminals of illegal torture and surveillance they would NOT be investigated or prosecuted.
19. Holder and Obama did very little to reduce carbon emissions despite Obama’s lies to the UN. (Lindorff)
20. Bruce Dixon asserts that the Holder Justice Department refused to challenge “draconian emergency financial manager legislation” in Detroit. The Detroit bankrutpcy precedent exploiting and devastating the lives of poor and ethnic levels of urban society will now be applied to cities across America.
This isn’t a complete list, but maybe enough for the reader to challenge the New York Times and Democratic Party propaganda that Holder or Obama are anywhere close to being "champions" of civil rights in America, their support for same sex marriages notwithstanding!
The hardening of soft fascism happened under Obama’s watch, carried over from Bush’s. Let’s NOT deny that!!
[cross-posted on open salon]