Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who has covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

April 20, 2009


Washington Post - The Obama administration opposes any effort to prosecute those in the Justice Department who drafted legal memos authorizing harsh interrogations at secret CIA prisons, White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel said. . .

"It's not a time to use our energy and our time in looking back" out of "any sense of anger and retribution," Emanuel said on ABC's "This Week." His remarks reflect the White House's effort to claim a middle ground after the release of the memos, which had been top secret, angered backers of the Bush administration's interrogation policy.


Anonymous Inequitable justice? said...

Obama Administration Won’t Intervene in Charlie Lynch Case
The Justice Department announced (pdf) over the weekend that it will not intervene in the Charlie Lynch medical marijuana case. The federal judge in Lynch’s case had postponed Lynch’s sentencing to inquire if the Obama administration might want to back off, given Attorney General Holder’s recent statements about not prosecuting medical marijuana distributors who are complying with state and local law.

It would be merely disappointing had the DOJ based its decision not to intervene on the fact that a verdict had already been rendered in Lynch’s case. But the DOJ response goes much further, specifically stating that entire prosecution of Lynch is consistent with the government’s new position on medical marijuana, as laid out by Holder. I’s hard to say, then, exactly what distinguishes Obama’s position on medical marijuana from Bush’s. Lynch sought out and received assurance from state and local authorities that he was in complete compliance with state and local law. If that isn’t enough to meet Holder’s new policy, what is?

This decision looks particularly ugly in light of Obama’s continuing efforts to protect Bush’s torture team from prosecution, from Cheney, Yoo, and Bybee on down to the CIA operatives who actually administered the torture techniques. The message from Obama seems to be that when it comes to powerful government employees and covert agents breaking the law, he’s going to “look forward” and do everything he can to protect them from being held accountable, up to and including questionable assertions of executive power. Regular people who may violate ambiguous laws, on the other hand, can expect no such “looking forward,” just more of the same: the full brunt force of government tumbling down on top of them.

April 20, 2009 1:00 PM  
Anonymous robbie said...

Pot smokers in, torturers out. Oh yeah. Makes perfect sense.

April 20, 2009 7:37 PM  
Anonymous Mairead said...

This difference is totally consistent with ruling-class attitudes around the world. Straw intervened to save Pinochet, Albright intervened to whitewash him, Adi Amin was allowed to live out his life in luxurious exile...I could go on for pages.

The predators take care of their own.

A very good writer, whose name I'm blanking on at the moment, put it perfectly:

There aren't separate laws for rich and poor, that's a myth. There is only one law for both. The rich get the protection part, and the poor the prosecution.

April 21, 2009 9:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's like the old Angola axiom about capital punishment," If you ain't got the capital you get the punishment".

April 21, 2009 7:01 PM  

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