In a major decision, Attorney General Eric Holder has announced that he has found that the Justice Department has acted improperly in barring any criminal investigation of well-documented war crimes committed by the Bush Administration in the torture program. To punish the failure of the Department to act in a timely fashion, he has announced that no criminal charges will be pursued regarding torture to teach prosecutors a lesson that “justice delayed is justice denied.”
On April 1, 2009, Holder held a press conference in which he was angry over the failure over Acting Associate Attorney General Daniel Marcus and Lanny Breuer, head of the Criminal Division, to even investigate the commission of war crimes despite a public record of the crime.
“I am simply perplexed by what these prosecutors were waiting for. These are crimes committed and discussed virtually in front of the Justice Department building. The International Red Cross found that this was torture. Bush officials admitted that it was torture. Interrogators said it was torture. Both the President and I have said waterboarding is torture. Well, folks, torture is not just a crime, it is a well-defined war crime. Now, we have Spain investigating crimes that we failed to investigate. The failure of Messrs. Marcus and Breuer to act shows the very type of political pressure that corrupted the Justice Department under my predecessors.”
Holder announced that he will now let Spain enforce these laws to teach prosecutors a lesson — much as he did with the Stevens case. Holder noted “I’m no fool. I promised the Senate that I would no longer engage in political acts like those I was accused of committing while a member of the Clinton Administration. The failure of these officials to act in the face of confirmed crimes is intolerable and makes me look like a political hack.” In a bow to the Spaniards, Holder noted that “the fact is that the Spanish legal system is much older than the United States and they have had more experience dealing with waterboarding since the Inquisition and war crimes since the Spanish Civil War.”
Holder indicated that his policy of punishing the Justice Department by barring investigations or prosecutions against criminals will be a continuing tool for discipline of his administration. Holder noted that it is sometimes necessary to “do good by doing nothing” and that he will not hesitate to punish his department in a similar fashion in the future in these highly politicized cases. “I am not some April Fool,” he insisted, “despite the views of many.”
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BTW, Happy April Fool’s day, everyone.