by Kevin Zeese/ 09/29/2015
It will also be remembered for the mistaken lack of enforcement against war crimes; in particular torture committed by US officials during the Bush administration as well as failing to take any action against lawyers in the Department of Justice and CIA who provided legal cover to torture. Instead of putting up a red light to unauthorized wars and military action, the Holder DOJ provided legal cover the massive drone killings by President Obama (that primarily killed civilians and non-combatants) and the military attack against Libya as well as the current war on ISIS resulting in massive bombings in Syria and Iraq.
Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press were also undermined by the dramatic attack by the Obama administration against journalists and whistleblowers. The United States military, security and intelligence agencies have been involved in unprecedented activities that on their face seem to be illegal. We would not have known about them had it not been for whistleblowers like Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden and journalist Julian Assange of Wikileaks. In fact, Eric Holder’s DOJ inappropriately used the Espionage Act more than any other administration – indeed more than every administration combined. Similarly, attacks on journalists – including searches of offices and threatened prosecution increased under Holder. The right of Americans to know through a free press and citizens of conscience is critical in times of extreme corruption.
On marijuana policy, rather than reacting against the voters in Washington and Colorado who voted overwhelmingly to legalize marijuana, Eric Holder announced a policy that allowed those states to put new laws in place. This was a positive step toward ending the prohibition of marijuana and creating a more sensible marijuana policy. There continue to be US Attorneys around the nation who prosecute medical marijuana providers inappropriately and that is something Holder was less successful at minimizing. And, Holder has not used his power as attorney general to reclassify marijuana under federal law in recognition of its widespread medical use and relative safety.
We urge President Obama to replace Holder with a public interest not a corporate lawyer; that will put the rule of law before corporate power. This appointment is an opportunity to shut the revolving door between big business and government. We also hope the next attorney general will put rule of law ahead of the security state, prosecute torture and other war crimes, protect privacy from US intelligence agencies and protect Freedom of Speech, Assembly and Press. Finally, we hope to see an attorney general that will confront the war culture that has allowed the president to ignore the constitutional requirement that Congress is responsible for deciding when the US goes to war, not the president; and one who respects international law and requires UN approval before the US attacks another nation.
~ Kevin Zeese serves as the Attorney General on the Justice Branch of the Green Shadow Cabinet.