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Scott Horton, says
If the president releases the Bush torture memos, Republicans are promising to “go nuclear” and filibuster his legal appointments. Scott Horton reports on a serious threat to Obama’s transparency.
As we all know, the appointment of Dawn Johnsen, as chief of the office of Legal Counsel in the Department of Justice, has been held up for quite some time now.
Until recently, the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, often considered the “brains” of the department, has been known mostly to legal experts. But for the past eight years, it was the epicenter of allegations of political manipulation and, worse, the source of infamous memoranda on torture. In tapping Eric Holder as attorney general, President Obama has promised to restore standards of professionalism to the department. For Republicans, this is tantamount to a declaration of partisan war
The real reason for their vehement opposition is that Johnsen is committed to overturning the Bush administration’s policies on torture and warrantless surveillance that would clip the wings of the imperial presidency.
The more you dig . . . .
Likewise, for Yale Law School Dean Harold Koh, as Statement Department legal counsel, is being referred to as “dangerous”
here’s what you’ll find: 13 pieces on far-right Web sites characterizing Koh as dangerous and anti-American; several Fox News stories, updated several times daily, one of which describes the anti-Koh screeds as “burning up the Internet”; and a measly two blog posts defending Koh from these attacks. . . .
Harold Koh is not a radical legal figure. He has served with distinction in both Democratic and Republican administrations (under Presidents Clinton and Reagan), and in that capacity he sued both Democratic and Republican administrations. He was confirmed unanimously 11 years ago, and yet this time around, he is a threat to American sovereignty.
So, the Republicans are desperate to prevent the torture memos containing “dark secrets” of the Bush Administration from being released, which had already been approved for release, using their release as a tool to prevent the nominations for Johnsen and Koh to move ahead.
Not a single Republican indicated an intention to vote for Dawn Johnsen, while Senator John Cornyn of Texas was described as “gunning for her,” specifically noting publication of the torture memos.
Of course, these memos authored by, John Yoo, University of California law professor, Jay Bybee, federal appellate judge, and Stephen Bradbury former Justice Department lawyer, are like “hot tickets” and “The stakes over release of the papers are increasingly high.” Particularly, at this time, when these authors and three Bush Lawyers and Alberto Gonzales, are the subjects of a Spanish case. Bear in mind that these “torture memos” are the ones that define the torture techniques that would be used.
The release of the memos that the Senate Republicans want to suppress was cleared by Attorney General Eric Holder and White House counsel Greg Craig, and then was stopped when “all hell broke loose” inside the Obama administration, according to an article by Newsweek reporter Michael Isikoff
John O. Brennan, counterterrorism adviser and former CIA official, argued strenuously that
exposure of the memoranda would run afoul of policies protecting the secrecy of agency techniques and has also argued that the memos would embarrass nations like Morocco, Jordan, Pakistan, Tunisia and Egypt, which have cooperated closely with the CIA in its extraordinary renditions program.
So now we should worry about the embarrassment that would be caused these countries for what WE DID? And we must also protect “the secrecy of agency techniques,” which techniques constitute war crimes?
(h/t David Swanson)
Johnsen and Koh, are two very good nominations for the Department of Justice. Even former Bush Administration Solicitor Ted Olson recently endorsed the Koh nomination, calling the Yale dean ‘a man of great integrity.'”
This is totally outrageous! As you can see and as Scott Horton infers, this is tantamount to “blackmail.”
Call your Congress people — express your outrage at this effort to first, prevent the torture memos from being released and second, using two nominations “hostage.”