Who Is This New Attorney General, Eric Holder?
Barack Obama announced on December 1, 2008 his nomination of Eric H. Holder, Jr. to serve as Attorney General, to take over the running of The Department of Justice in Obama's new administration from Bush appointee Michael Mukasey.
Eric Holder knows what Republican Senators Barrasso, Brownback, Burr, Coburn, Cochran, Cornyn, Crapo, Ensign, Kaybee, Hutchison, Inhofe, Johanns, McConnell, Risch, Shelby, Thune and Wicker, who voted against his confirmation by the Senate Monday, February 02, 2008, also know.
Eric Holder knows that Bush and Cheney deserve fair trials. Fair trials in courts of law, not crucifixion by media and bloggers.
One would hope that Mr. Holder will make a better and more honest Attorney General who will uphold the law than Michael Mukasey was, who like all representatives of Mr. Bush have done, has during his tenure waffled, spun, twisted in the wind, squirmed, sweated, excused, equivocated, and otherwise bullshitted America and the world as George Bush's acolyte under hot lights and pointed interrogations from Congress over evidence of torture ordered at the highest levels of the Bush administration, the president and vice president, that the least informed people in the world all know is well defined, immoral, and illegal under international law, US law, and international treaties. (see addendum)
A war crime, in simpler terms. A war crime that Vice President Cheney has in recent days confessed publicly that the Bush administration intentionally engaged in.
Mr. Holder is the target of the Docudharma/Democrats.com sponsored Citizens Petition for a Special Prosecutor to Investigate Bush War Crimes. Don't forget to sign the petition if you haven't already.
Who is Eric Holder? What are his views and philosophy on the questions of torture, war crimes, secret prisons hidden away from the rule of law, and Bush's "war on terror"?
What can we expect his reactions to be to the petition for a Special Prosecutor? We have only his own words and background to look to for clues.
Mr. Holder has been a partner with the law firm Covington & Burling LLP since 2001.
The Covington & Burling LLP Bio of Mr. Holder states that:
Mr. Holder is a litigation partner who handles, among other matters, complex civil and criminal cases, domestic and international advisory matters and internal corporate investigations.
During his professional career, Mr. Holder has held a number of significant positions in government. Upon graduating from Columbia Law School, he moved to Washington, DC and joined the Department of Justice as part of the Attorney General's Honors Program. He was assigned to the newly formed Public Integrity Section in 1976 and was tasked to investigate and prosecute official corruption on the local, state and federal levels.
In 1997, President Clinton appointed Mr. Holder to serve as Deputy Attorney General, the number two position in the United States Department of Justice. He became the first African-American to serve as Deputy Attorney General. Mr. Holder briefly served under President Bush as Acting Attorney General pending the confirmation of Attorney General John Ashcroft.
As Deputy Attorney General, Mr. Holder supervised all of the Department's litigating, enforcement, and administrative components in both civil and criminal matters.
Eric Holder serves on the American Constitution Society's Board of Directors and spoke there Friday June 13th, 2008.
The speech, and Mr. Holder's tone, comportment, and obvious high intelligence displayed in it are very confidence inspiring, unlike Mr. Mukasey's dissembling, and provides a good example for everyone to see and hear what Holder had to say on the same questions that for years have caused Mr. Mukasey's eyes to dart around in a frantic search for safe ground while he sweats and squirms and squeals like a stuck pig writhing on the end of a sharp stick.
A release from The ACS (via Mark Halperin's The Page at Time.com) says that:
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.”
Here is Eric Holder Jr. speaking on the Rule of Law at the 2008 ACS National Convention and on the responsibility of Americans to preserve and protect our Constitution and reaffirm the principle of rule of law to its rightful, central place in society.
"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," ... "For the sake of our safety and security, and because it is the right thing to do, the ... 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."
If Mr. Holder, when he becomes Attorney General, is to live up to his own statements and retain the personal and professional integrity he has displayed in his law career thus far, and not by acts of omission become an accessory along with Mr. Mukasey and Ms. Pelosi to the crimes of Bush, Cheney and others in the Bush administration, he will have no choice but to accept the demands of the thousands of US citizens who have signed the Docudharma/Democrats.com Citizens Petition for a Special Prosecutor to investigate and prosecute Bush administration war crimes.
If he will not, Mr. Holder runs the risk of throwing away a lifetime of work in a so far illustrious career and all of his personal and professional integrity and becoming a fugitive with Mr. Mukasey and an accessory to these crimes along with and no better than the perpetrators and other conspirators.
Given his professional record, I have every confidence that Mr. Holder, as Attorney General of the United States, realizes that he can make no other choice than to do the right thing.
Mr. Holder knows that like any other accused criminals, Bush and Cheney deserve fair trials.
And Mr. Holder knows that failing to give them those fair trials would be convicting himself.
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International and U.S. law prohibits torture and other ill-treatment of any person in custody in all circumstances. The prohibition applies to the United States during times of peace, armed conflict, or a state of emergency. Any person, whether a U.S. national or a non-citizen, is protected. It is irrelevant whether the detainee is determined to be a prisoner-of-war, a protected person, or a so-called "security detainee" or "unlawful combatant." And the prohibition is in effect within the territory of the United States or any place anywhere U.S. authorities have control over a person. In short, the prohibition against torture and ill-treatment is absolute.
A federal anti-torture statute (18 U.S.C. § 2340A), enacted in 1994, provides for the prosecution of a U.S. national or anyone present in the United States who, while outside the U.S., commits or attempts to commit torture.
Torture is defined as an "act committed by a person acting under the color of law specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions) upon another person within his custody or physical control." A person found guilty under the act can be incarcerated for up to 20 years or receive the death penalty if the torture results in the victim's death.