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Biden’s transition team is filled with war profiteers, Beltway chickenhawks, and corporate consultants

A glance at the Biden-Harris agency review teams should provide a rude awakening to anyone who believed a Biden administration could be “pushed to the left.”
 
by Kevin Gosztola 

Part 3 - Agents of injustice

They include Department of Justice review team member Marty Lederman. A Georgetown Law professor, Lederman was the deputy assistant attorney general in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel from 2009 to 2010. He helped draft the “drone memo” that outlined the supposed “legal basis” for executing Anwar al-Awlaki, an Al Qaeda affiliated terrorism suspect without charge or trial, despite the fact that Al-Awlaki was an American citizen.

Joining Lederman is Barbara McQuade, an ex-MSNBC contributor and former US attorney in the Eastern District of Michigan, which has jurisdiction over Dearborn, Detroit, and Flint. During her time as the government’s top prosecutor in Flint, McQuade had the power to bring charges against Michigan officials responsible for contaminating the city’s water and lying to the public about it, but she waited out her tenure without doing anything of substance to hold them accountable.

McQuade’s office was complicit in the racial profiling and intrusive surveillance of Arab, Muslim, and Sikh communities in Dearborn. She pursued the political prosecution of Rasmea Odeh, a prominent Palestinian American civil rights activist in Chicago, resulting in Odeh’s deportation to Jordan.

Odeh was tortured by Israeli forces, the State Department knew she was accused of violence by the Israeli government, yet she was allowed to immigrate to the US in the 1990s. Nonetheless, Odeh was convicted of immigration fraud and deported to Jordan as part of an effort to salvage a larger FBI counterintelligence operation against antiwar and international solidarity activists.

Neil MacBride, the former US Attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia, is on the Biden-Harris Justice Department team too. Although his office did not indict WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, MacBride oversaw the grand jury that was empaneled to aid the US government in its efforts to destroy the media organization.

MacBride presided over the prosecution of CIA whistleblowers John Kiriakou and Jeffrey Sterling, enabling Obama to claim the dishonorable record of more prosecutions under the Espionage Act than all previous presidential administrations combined. MacBride also fought in federal court for the authority to force New York Times reporter James Risen to divulge his confidential sources in the Sterling case, threatening the correspondent with jail time if he refused.

At an Aspen Security Forum event in July 2013, MacBride was asked by Michael Isikoff, “Have you gone overboard, Neil?” MacBride replied, “No, I don’t believe we have.

The Biden-Harris team leader for the Labor Department team is Chris Lu, a cheerleader for the Trans-Pacific Partnership corporate free trade deal as Obama’s Deputy Secretary of Labor.

Half dozen or so of the appointees have links to Big Tech companies. Perhaps the most significant figure is Seth Harris, a lobbyist and former Obama Labor Department official who wrote a policy paper for the neoliberal Hamilton Project. 

This paper provided the framework for the passage of Proposition 22 in California. Uber, Doordash, and Lyft spent around $200 million to campaign for the passage of this bill, which exempted them and other corporations from paying their employees benefits and blocked Uber and Lyft drivers from organizing a union.

Max Moran of The American Prospect contended Proposition 22 was Harris’ audition for Labor Secretary in a Biden administration. Given its smashing success in duping supposedly progressive Californians of all demographics into supporting corporate oppression of workers, Harris has earned himself the job. 

And like the interventionists that dominate the foreign policy review teams, Seth Harris embodies Biden’s pledge to big money donors: “Nothing will fundamentally change.

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