atlrus - 3:03 pm on Jun 7, 2012 (gmt 0)
There is precedence: the URL removal feature in Webmaster Tools.
This is not even close. It's one thing to completely remove, let's say a page from the index (something you should be able to achieve yourself without any WMT , but by using robots.txt), a completely different to be given a tool to "tweak" how this page is ranked. This will never happen, although I can see how people could be duped into believing that the tool is working.
I also think this tool, in some form, is necessary.
No, it's not. You are well tricked into believing that it is.
When "Old Google" didn't like a link (or suspected it of being manipulated) - it was simply discounted, whether it was bought by you or another webmaster trying to do harm. It's simple as that. Goal was achieved without any harmful consequence.
Have you asked yourself what's stopping Google from simply discounting suspicious links?