By the late 1950s, America’s rulers knew domestic Jim Crow was a global strategic liability. All but diehard Southern white supremacists could see it was bad for business, that it interfered with America’s penetration of the former European colonial empires in Africa and Asia. The image of a settler state, built with stolen labor on stolen land, where lynch mobs and white violence could break out at any time, where blacks were legally under-educated couldn’t compete with the egalitarian rhetoric of the Soviet Union and China. It was bad for business.
Media and political elites singled out Dr. Martin Luther King as the favored face of what they called the civil rights movement before his 30th birthday. They awarded him the Nobel Peace Prize at the age of 36, but shunned and denounced him in the final year of his life when he condemned not just racism, but economic injustice at home and imperial war abroad. King’s death at only 39 enabled the US elite to construct their own useful tool, the Dreamer, who is the Martin Luther King we mostly hear about today.
In the early 70s, serious enforcement of the Voting Rights Act began, while the US military, elite universities and corporations instituted what came to be known as “affirmative action.” The economic gains that ordinary black families made in the the 60s and 70s didn’t last. These were largely curtailed and rolled back beginning in the 80s and 90s. But by the turn of the century there were dozens of black admirals and generals, more than ten thousand blacks holding elected office, with many more un-elected officials from the US Secretary of State down to wardens of state and federal prisons, and a layer of black corporate functionaries, academics, celebrities and lawyers.
Condoleeza Rice and Colin Powell were part of that layer, as are Susan Rice, Eric Holder, the despicable “Morehouse Man” Jeh Johnson at Homeland Security, and Loretta Lynch, whom President Obama has nominated to replace the first black attorney general, Eric Holder.
Lynch did her undergrad and law school at Harvard. She went from there to the prestigious NY firm Cahill Gordon & Rendall, the folks who represent Bank of America, Merril Lynch, Barclays, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, JP Morgan, Wells Fargo and the like.
Lynch served her first term at the Justice Department co-chairing something called the White Collar Crime Subcommittee. But you won’t hear Lynch bragging about how many white collar criminals, fraudulent bankster, predatory speculators and greedy CEOs she’s locked up. Departments of Justice under both Democrats and Republicans simply don’t much go in for that kind of thing. It seems the only thing that qualified Lynch for a “White Collar Crime Subcommittee” was her expertise in advising and defending the few white collar criminals who got close to seeing the inside of a courtroom.
From DOJ Lynch returned to private practice, this time at Hogan & Hartson focusing on “commercial litigation, white collar criminal defense and corporate compliance issues”…in other words, keeping corporate criminals out of jail.
Perhaps tiring of keeping people out of prison, Lynch went back to the Justice Department a second time in 2000, this time as Brooklyn NY’s federal district attorney. In this office, Lynch was responsible for thousands of vicious and petty drug prosecutions and for enabling unjust asset forfeitures. After a public outcry Lynch gave the green light to prosecution of NYPD officers in the sodomizing of Abner Louima, though she declined to launch federal investigations into hundreds of other incidents of NYPD’s lawlessness, brutality and murder on her watch.
At the beginning of the Obama administration there was an urgent need for Lynch’s unique talents. Greedy speculators, banksters and hedge fund sharpies had crashed the US economy in 2007, leading to millions of foreclosures and the most catastrophic loss of black family wealth since the US began measuring it. But banking, insurance and finance had been the incoming administration’s biggest contributors. So Loretta, the “white collar crime specialist” answered the call to protect the pillagers and perps who made her career, and the Obama administration possible.
She has served them well. In more than one Rolling Stone article, Matt Taibi has described her role in shielding HSBC.
“The deal was announced quietly, just before the holidays, almost like the government was hoping people were too busy hanging stockings by the fireplace to notice. Flooring politicians, lawyers and investigators all over the world, the U.S. Justice Department granted a total walk to executives of the British-based bank HSBC for the largest drug-and-terrorism money-laundering case ever. Yes, they issued a fine – $1.9 billion, or about five weeks’ profit – but they didn’t extract so much as one dollar or one day in jail from any individual, despite a decade of stupefying abuses…”
Lynch also helped negotiate the DOJ settlement with Citigroup, one of the main entities that packaged and sold fraudulent mortgage securities to clients around the world. She let them off the same way, and guaranteed them immunity in the cases that state attorneys general were pursuing.
That’s her specialty, that’s who and what she is. Loretta Lynch is the lawyer who writes the fine print on the “get out of jail free” cards the Justice Department hands out to banksters, speculators and too-big-to-jail CEOs. She’s the vicious federal DA who prosecuted thousands of poor defendants on petty drug charges eacn month, but ignored the official crimes of NYPD excepting a single case that put tens of thousands of New Yorkers in the street. Lynch sees nothing wrong with the NSA harvesting everyone’s email, phone and other communications, she has no problem with the president ordering the drone murder of US citizens or foreigners, whoever, and is not interested in lowering the prison population, curbing asset forfeitures, or restraining and demilitarizing the police.
Those who imagine that there’s some virtue in having black faces in high legal places need to ask why black lawyers who file suits against corporate polluters, who defend the victims of police torture and abuse, who represent the evicted and afflicted, who expose the abuses and war crimes of the CIA, NSA and the Pentagon are never considered for leading roles at the Department of Justice. In his day, Thurgood Marshall defended scores of people accused of capital crimes. This alone would disqualify him from the federal bench nowadays. Like Eric Holder, Loretta Lynch has never represented anyone facing eviction or dispossession. She has never sued a polluter or a violator of human and civil rights. She’s pro-death penalty, anti-marijuana legalization, and as far as we know, has never defended a poor person accused of a crime.
Like Jeh Johnson, the odious “Morehouse Man” running Homeland Security who claims Dr. King would bless and justify the US war machine around the world, Lynch’s legal practice and views would be anathema to ordinary African Americans if they were known. So the emphasis will be on her black womanhood.
Republicans will offer token opposition because they know they share her morals and manners. The useless Congressional Black Caucus, as Glen Ford points out will only care about her black womanhood, out of which they and others will manufacture many “stand by a sista” moment.
But those with eyes open know who Loretta Lynch is. She’s Condoleezza Rice with a law degree. She’s a corporate fixer and enabler. She’s a vicious prosecutor and a soulless corporate operative. She’s a black woman, and likely the next US Attorney General.
Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report. He lives and works in Marietta GA where he is a partner in a technology firm and serves of the state committee of the GA Green Party. Contact him at [email protected]