As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Holder Pattern

I caught a little of the Eric Holder testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee on the way in. I guess the page one headline is that he called waterboarding torture. If that's so, then he is obligated by law to prosecute those who authorized and directed it. Just sayin'.

The cable gabfests are probably talking about him taking responsibility for mistakes made in the Marc Rich pardon. I want to focus on a couple other things. First, the issue of Guantanamo:

Holder echoed that stance Thursday but said shuttering the prison would be difficult and would take time. Many detainees could be transferred to other countries, he said, and some could be charged in U.S. courts. That is a contentious proposal because many oppose the idea of bringing terrorism suspects onto U.S. soil.

"There are possibly many other people who are not going to be able to be tried but who nevertheless are dangerous to this country," Holder said. "We're going to have to try to figure out what we do with them."

What we do is old-fashioned detective work, figure out if we can charge these people, and if we can't, release them. It's as simple as that. That's going to take a little time, since the evidence is currently in complete disarray, as a former prosecutor at Gitmo acknowledges. But it can and should be done as quickly as possible. Furthermore, there is an error in assuming this applies to every detainee still at the facility. It does not. There are hundreds that present no threat to the United States and should be released.

A federal judge ordered the release yesterday of a detainee at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, ruling that the government's evidence is too weak to justify the man's continued confinement.

It is the second time that U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon has ordered the release of a detainee after examining government evidence, most of it classified. Leon said that the Justice Department failed to prove that Mohammed El Gharani, 21, is an enemy combatant because it relied heavily on statements made by two other detainees whose credibility is questionable.

In fact, the least we can do is allow some of the detainees whose lives we destroyed to remain free in the United States, even as a symbolic act of contrition and tolerance. This will make it easier to export other detainees to Western nations. If the Obama-Holder plan is just a kinder and gentler indefinite detention and more friendly military commissions, then they own a process which, among other things, is trying children in sham courts, against international law.

A couple other things - Jeff Sessions' questioning of Holder was hilarious. Sessions admitted being "concerned" that Holder wants to operate within the "spirit of the Constitution," because that could mean different things to different people. Yes, see, if your version of the Constitution means that we're not allowed to crush the testicles of children, Mr. Holder, we've got a problem!

In Chuck Schumer's testimony, Holder was asked if he would review the case of Bradley Schlozman and the politicization of the civil rights division, to determine why the US Attorneys declined to prosecute, and Holder said he would. So the Schloz is not out of the woods yet. And he was strong on the overall issue of politicization.

Holder promised to be an independent attorney general, telling lawmakers that he did not believe the attorney general's job was to serve as the president's lawyer — a frequent criticism of Gonzales' tenure under President George W. Bush. He also pledged to restore the independence of a Justice Department where Bush administration appointees used political benchmarks when making hiring decisions.

"One of the things I'm going to have to do as attorney general in short order is basically do a damage assessment," Holder said.

Several Republicans have already agreed to back Holder, so the effort to oppose him is pretty much a sideshow. Inside the false media narrative, however, there is some important information coming out.

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