Eric Holder: Return to Sender

Glen Ford, Executive Editor of the Black Agenda Report, says Eric Holder is returning to his “ideological home” of corporate law to defend the big banks and TPP

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SHARMINI PERIES, EXEC. PRODUCER, TRNN: This is the Glen Ford Report on the Real News Network. I’m Sharmini Peries coming to you from Baltimore.

Eric Holder, the former U.S. attorney general will return to his law firm that he left five years ago to join the Obama administration. And now we are going to get Glen Ford’s take on all of this, and his track record. And Glen, as you know, is the executive editor of the Black Agenda Report.

Glen, thank you for joining us.

GLEN FORD, EXEC. EDITOR, BLACK AGENDA REPORT: Thank you for having me.

PERIES: So Glen, what do you make of his return to the law firm?

FORD: Well, Eric Holder says that he’s coming home by returning to that high-powered, top-drawer corporate law firm, and I think that’s probably true. That is his ideological home as well as the firm that he worked for from 2001 when President Obama named him to be the attorney general.

Eric Holder is the classic example of the corporate lawyer. The guy who moves through the revolving door between representing the ruling class in private practice, like at Covington and Burling, and then serving their interests while he’s in the government, as the top lawyer for the federal government and as–and I think this is just as important–an intimate friend of the current president. Holder will now be allowed to become rich as well as to serve the rich.

If, for example, President Obama succeeds in getting his Trans-Pacific Partnership trade-rigging treaty passed through the Congress, there will Eric Holder be, right there at Covington and Burling, in a good position to help his clients to ship more U.S. jobs overseas, and to beat down any nation that wants to stand in the way of the rule of money in the world. Because that is what Covington and Burling serve, the rule of money. They’ve got offices all over. They’ve got offices in New York and Berlin and Beijing and Shanghai, and in South Korea, and in Brussels. And they have a very special relationship with the country of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

Eric Holder already has lots of experience on the dark side of international corporate relations. The last time that he returned to Covington and Burling, that was after serving as the deputy attorney general in Bill Clinton’s administration. Holder used that opportunity to influence the government to get his client, Chiquita Banana, their operations in Colombia, to get the crimes that they’ve been involved in, the murder by death squads which were under the pay of Chiquita Banana and other U.S. corporations, to get Chiquita Banana off with a fine.

And that really is the trademark of Eric Holder. No matter what you do. If you’re killing peasants in Colombia, or you’re killing the economy of the United States, you will get off with a fine if Eric Holder has anything to do with it. He of course is famous for indicating that the largest banks in the country are just too big to jail. But that’s not a new thought on his part. He actually came up with the formula for that back in 1999, when he was making his bones under Bill Clinton. He circulated a memo that basically said to his compatriots in the Justice Department that corporations should be fined instead of being criminally prosecuted so that there would not be collateral damage to the economy.

So when he became attorney general, and this huge capitalist crisis occurred, he already had the formula. Let them get away with everything, no criminal prosecutions. Just fine them, and not too much that it will hurt.

Eric Holder has no respect for the law. He only has respect for power. It was his duty to explain President Obama’s preventive detention legislation. He had to explain why a bill that would allow people to be put in prison without trial, without any access to the courts, was not an infringement on the principle of due process of law. And all Eric Holder did was mumble something about, well, due process doesn’t really mean that everybody has to get their day in court.

And it’s that kind of mentality that makes Eric Holder such a great asset to people like Covington and Burling. I’m sure that they will make great use of him and all of his nefarious contacts inside and outside of the federal government.

PERIES: Glen, what I thought was the most pathetic about this res–well, his departure and the announcements related to his departure is that the law firm itself had issued a number of press releases that news outlets like NBC just took and quoted and repeated, almost as if it was an advertisement for people to use the law firm, and so uncritically covering it. Your thoughts on that.

FORD: Well, when you look at television today you’re looking into the bowels of a corporation. So it should not be strange to see corporations speaking in their own language and treating as earthshaking events things like the hiring of a new, high-powered lawyer.

PERIES: Glen, after having a DOJ that’s black and a president that’s black, this country remains racially divided, more than it has been in decades. What do you think of that, and what do you think he could have done in order to address this?

FORD: Well many things could be done, such as prosecuting police who murder black people in the street. But of course that’s off-limits for a corporate president and his administration.

And it is amazing that there seems to be some kind of a corporate media consensus that this guy, Eric Holder, has been such a boon for civil rights, for black folks, for reform in the criminal justice system, when nothing of the kind has happened. The biggest thing that he’s done is attack the very principle of due process of law, which weakens and destroys everybody’s civil rights. In terms of the criminal justice system, and supposed reforms, all we’ve seen is very small executive orders emanating from this administration. That is, the attorney general told his federal prosecutors, in the spirit of prison reform, not to prosecute folks so hard. Not to demand such long sentences so as to cut down on the terribly long terms that people serve in American prisons.

But that order only lasts for the length of the administration. It has no life afterwards. It changes nothing structurally. It’s just a kind of propaganda for the Obama administration. When it comes to shaping law, as the New York Times reported, this Eric Holder Justice Department just like the ones before it consistently, and in fact at every opportunity that it is allowed that it gets to speak before the Supreme Court on the issue of police use of excessive force, this Justice Department, Eric Holder’s Justice Department, has sided with the police. And that’s the kind of behavior that creates court precedents that live way beyond my lifetime and Eric Holder’s lifetime. And in that regard there’s been no reform whatsoever.

So it’s a big charade, and people imagining as they did when Obama first entered the White House, imagining a kind of Justice Department rather than keeping track of its actual record.

PERIES: Glen Ford, thank you so much for joining us today.

FORD: Thank you.

PERIES: And thank you for joining us on the Real News Network.

End

DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.