Friday, May 15, 2009

Obama Continues to Look the Other Way on Crimes of the Bush Administration

Why does the Obama administration seem to be covering up crimes of the Bush administration?

That is one of many important issues Larisa Alexandrovna raises in a powerful report at Raw Story.

Writes Alexandrovna:

Why is no one being held accountable? It is one thing to overlook a series of bad choices made in good faith. But the issues at hand have nothing to do with good faith or even bad choices. The allegations of criminal activity and extreme and willful abuses of power by officials of the Bush administration fall directly under the very definition of high crimes. . . .

The Watergate break-in, for example, appears insignificant against the backdrop of the Bush-Cheney legacy. No, the crimes are not small or even limited to a single genre or type of crime. From the outing of a CIA officer for political payback, to the massive illegal domestic surveillance program, to a policy of torture that resulted in multiple homicides; high crimes were committed and more startling, no one has been held to account.

Alexandrovna is particularly outraged at this week's news that federal prosecutors are seeking a 20-year sentence for former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman, almost triple his original sentence:

Attorney General Holder stepped into former Senator Ted Steven’s corruption case on the grounds that federal prosecutors behaved unethically and possibly in a criminal way. This was the right decision, but why Stevens and no one else? Why are federal prosecutors demanding harsher sentencing in a case where the prosecutorial misconduct was far worse than it was in the Stevens’ case?

I might be able to answer Alexandrovna's last question; at least I have a theory about it.

In the Stevens case, a federal judge helped point out prosecutorial misconduct. In the Siegelman case, a federal judge was part of the misconduct. And based on the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals' flawed ruling that upheld much of the Siegelman conviction, it now appears that appellate judges are involved in a cover up of what really took place in Montgomery, Alabama.

My guess is that Attorney General Eric Holder has no problem pointing out, and dealing with, wayward prosecutors. But you can't deal with the Siegelman fiasco without looking into the conduct of corrupt judges. And that goes to the very heart of our justice system.

The Siegelman case shows that our justice is corrupt to its core, that even some of those we call "your honor" are, in fact, dishonorable.

My guess is that Holder simply does not want to deal with that--or, in a best-case scenario--he has not yet figured out how to deal with it.

Barack Obama unquestionably inherited an unholy mess from the Bush administration. And it's unfair to expect it to be solved in four months.

But the crimes in the Bush Justice Department simply must not be papered over. I can understand if Holder needs time to figure out how to tell the American people that their justice system is corrupt from top to bottom.

But he needs to get on the stick. A former governor in Alabama, who committed no crime, is looking at going to prison for the rest of his life.

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