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It Takes A The Village To Ignore Death Squads And Holder’s “Mushroom Year” At DOJ

Yesterday Senators Sheldon Whitehouse and Patrick Leahy offered up fulsome praise for Eric Holder, President-Elect Obama’s nominee for Attorney General. Yep: Senators Whitehouse and Leahy chose to support Eric Holder to lead the Department of Justice. Yep: the same DOJ where Holder, as Number Two, chose to privately support the Marc Rich pardon for a year without knowledge of the DOJ offices and officials formally charged with reviewing Presidential pardons. Yep: the same Marc Rich who chose for his pardon attorney Jack Quinn, a personal friend of Eric Holder….the DOJ # 2 who served Quinn’s client by cutting out the Department he puported to serve. Yep: the same Holder the DOJ # 2 who chose to call Quinn — lawyer to DOJ petitioner Rich — to ask Quinn about jobs for a couple of Deputy Attorney General Holder’s ex-hires.

After the pardon was signed, Mr. Quinn has testified, Mr. Holder called him to commend him on "a very good job." Mr. Holder also asked Mr. Quinn to consider hiring two former aides, one of whom had already contacted Mr. Quinn on Jan. 2 "at Holder’s suggestion."

Yep: the same Holder who — after leaving DOJ — chose to take money from Chiquita and use his influence as former Deputy Attorney General to help him get Chiquita a slap on the wrist.

Indeed, Holder himself, using his influence as former deputy attorney general under the Clinton Administration, helped to negotiate Chiquita’s sweeheart deal with the Justice Department in the criminal case against Chiquita. Under this deal, no Chiquita official received any jail time. Indeed, the identity of the key officials involved in the assistance to the paramilitaries were kept under seal and confidential. In the end, Chiquita was fined a mere $25 million which it has been allowed to pay over a 5-year period. This is incredible given the havoc wreaked by Chiquita’s aid to these Colombian death squards.

Yep: the same Chiquita that admitted choosing to fund Colombia’s right-wing terrorist death squad, the AUC, with 1.7 million dollars. Yep: the same AUC that chose to get Chiquita maximum profits…by torturing and murdering labor activists. Oh well. Why should Democrats in the Village let little things like choosing to work against DOJ from within or get sweet deals for those who fund United Brands/Chiquita’s terrorist death squad du regime trip up their rush to show loyalty to The Leader?

Hey, what’s so bad about choosing to get paid by Chiquita, the terrorist death squad’s paymaster? Who could object to a well-connected law partner at a powerful Village firm — the partner who chose to take money from terrorists’ funders — becoming our next Attorney General? Isn’t that what we’ve been fighting for: a free market?

In 1997, according to the federal complaint, a right-wing paramilitary commander named Carlos Castaño came to Chiquita’s subsidiary Banadex with a business proposal. A ruthless killer, Castaño had just become "supreme leader" of several smaller militias that he was banding together as the A.U.C. for a major military offensive against the Marxists. [snip]

"This company was in a bad position dealing with bad guys," says Eric Holder, a Washington attorney representing Chiquita. "There’s absolutely no suggestion of any personal gain here. It’s not a case like Tyco, where someone is squirreling money away. No one is out buying great shower curtains."

As a corporation, though, Chiquita stood to benefit greatly from the lethal cleansing that Castaño delivered. At the time, the Marxist guerrillas routinely kidnapped U.S. executives, blew up railroads, and sabotaged oil pipelines. Chiquita says it became increasingly difficult to protect its workers and their families. Castaño’s death squads, however, were squarely pro-business. They were not just ridding Urabá of guerrillas; they were killing leftists and eradicating unions.

"The payments Chiquita made to the paramilitaries were part of a project that the A.U.C. called Operation Genesis," says Gloria Cuartas, who was the mayor of Apartadó from 1995 until 1997, when Castaño threatened her life and drove her out of the area. "It called for the elimination of the left and of all social groups that were supposedly contributing to instability for investors and the multinationals." Francisco Ramirez, a leading labor lawyer with the United Confederation of Workers, the largest labor union in Colombia, says that money from Chiquita and other companies "created these paramilitary groups and helped destroy the unions."

The A.U.C.’s wave of terror was swift and brutal. Among the most savage of its many massacres was a 1998 attack on an Urabá village in which paramilitaries murdered 11 peasants after burning them with acid to force them to confess they were guerrillas.

Oh. That.

Well, it doesn’t seem to bother Senator Leahy. Nor did the year Eric Holder spent as Number Two at DOJ using his Federal office to give the DOJ the mushroom treatment on the Rich pardon.

Rebuilding morale and public confidence in the Justice Department continues to be a top priority, and Eric Holder’s extensive experience and knowledge of the Department will serve him well as he faces many challenges as Attorney General. After the scandals that have undermined the public’s trust in the Justice Department and that have damaged the morale of its dedicated professionals, it would be especially fitting to bring in a leader who is widely admired by the staff and especially by the professionals of the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices across the nation. He is an outstanding nominee for this challenging position, and he should have the support of senators from both sides of the aisle.

Isn’t it pretty to think so?

For the Villagers, choosing to help get a "slap on the wrist" for the people and megacorp that funded death squads is merely so much water blood under the bridge.

Why should a Senator bother to uphold his sworn oath to uphold the Constitution — you know, the one that gives the Senate their "advise and consent" role over Presidential appointments — when a Villager’s career could be at stake? Especially when the Villager’s an old colleague. Just ask Senator Whitehouse:

"Our new Attorney General must restore the Justice Department’s proud tradition of independence and excellence, and insulate it from improper pressure even when it comes from the White House. No one will fill that role more capably than Eric Holder.

"I served in the Clinton Administration with Mr. Holder, and can attest to his vast experience, his calm judgment, his legal skill, and his unswerving loyalty to the Department and its principles. I have no doubt that he will offer the independent, wise leadership necessary to repair the terrible damage of the Bush years. He has my enthusiastic support."

In America’s Village what really matters is loyalty to Party and The Leader.

Change we can believe in? Looks like the same ol’ Village Gore Vidal described in 2006.

We’ve become slavish. My favorite emperor was Tiberius and Tiberius, when he became emperor after Augustus died, the Senate sent him, kind of round robin, from all the Senators, SPQR, and the Senate sent him a document which agreed to any proposition that he might send down from Palatine Hill to the Senate without any time of pondering or anything, automatically because the emperor has spoken. He sent it back to them with a nasty little message and he said, ‘well, suppose the emperor has gone mad? Or suppose he’s dead and you don’t know it?’ That often happened then. ‘And, is this a wise policy that anything that comes from the Senate to the Palatine Hill is going to be accepted?’ And they said yes. They sent it back to him a third time and Tiberius had a courier take it back to the Senate and he said, ‘How eager you are to be slaves!’

Jeebus, we couldn’t have the impudent members of the world’s greatest debating club in the Legislative Branch merely refrain from praising an Executive Branch appointment. Especially the Executive-Elect’s appointment of his pal — the very guy who betrayed DOJ as Number Two — to take power at DOJ as Number One.

Failure to praise that would seem like a public breach of personal loyalty to The Leader. And that would be unjust.

Outright opposition, of course, would be an act of lèse majesté.

"Well, Doctor, what have we got-a Republic or a Monarchy?"

"A Republic, if you can keep it."

Doctor Franklin, I am so very truly sorry: we failed.

Hey, it could always be worse. At least The Leader didn’t nominate his horse for Attorney General. We’d already be reading servile Senators’ fond memories of their time in the stables together.

OK, enough carping. This is no time for tears: The Village celebrates. All hail The Leader’s choices. We eager slaves [So many of those who are about to cry? The eager slaves who are about to lie?] salute them!

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Kirk Murphy

Kirk Murphy

terrestrial obligate aerobe with endoskeleton (bony) and bilateral symmetry.

chordate, bipedal, warm-blooded, mammalian, placental (origin), opposable thumbs.

not (yet) extinct.

indigenous habitat: California Live Oak.

current habitat: Central California Coast (most northerly aspect).... 'northwest of the new world, east of the sea'

potential habitats: all potential habitats critically endangered (due to global climate change).

ailurophilic - hence allergic rhinitic.