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Thursday, January 06, 2005

 Questions for Gonzales, and one for YOU

Senator Patrick Leahy's questioning of Gonzales:
LEAHY: "Does U.S. law allow for torture, in your opinion?"

GONZALES: "Bush has already said there won't be any torture."

LEAHY: "That's not what I asked. In your opinion, does U.S. law allow for torture?"

GONZALES: "That's a hypothetical question that I won't answer."

LEAHY: "U.S. law. Torture."

GONZALES: "That involves a lot of complex law that I don't know."

Did you catch that? He doesn't know the law.

Two memos written or ordered by Gonzales in his role as the president's chief legal adviser, are at the heart of this questioning. In January 25, 2002, a memo to President Bush from Mr Gonzales asserted:

  • "I note that you have the constitutional authority to make the determination you made on January 18 that the [Geneva Convention] does not apply to al-Qaeda and the Taleban."

  • "...this is a new type of warfare - one not contemplated in 1949 when the [Geneva Convention] was framed - and requires a new approach in our actions towards captured terrorists."

  • "You should be aware that the Legal Adviser to the secretary of state (Colin Powell) has expressed a different view."

  • That the US would continue to be constrained by its commitments to treat detainees humanely, by applicable treaty obligations, by minimum standards of treatment universally recognised by the nations of the world and by applicable military regulations regarding the treatment of detainees.
  • On August 1, 2002, Jay Bybee, an official at the justice department and now an appeals court judge, wrote a 50-page memo at the request of Mr Gonzales. In that memo, Mr Bybee asserted:

  • "Physical pain amounting to torture must be equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death."

  • "Any effort by Congress to regulate the interrogation of battlefield combatants would violate the constitution's sole vesting of the commander-in-chief authority in the president."

  • That if certain interrogation methods "crossed the line" of the US anti-torture laws, soldiers or US officials might defend themselves from prosecution if "the threat of an impending terrorist attack threatens the lives of hundreds if not thousands of American citizens".
  • Josh Marshall asks a good question: "What if Gonzales had had some roughly equivalent position in Argentina or Chile in the late 1970s? Would he have faced subsequent legal vulnerability and/or consequences?"


    Blogger Electro said...

    A good candidate for Moron status!

    7:41 PM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    "We hold these truths to be self-evident....that all men are created equal". That says it all to me. You treat people right, by your nation's standards, not by some other standards. This idea that we should treat non-Americans differently absolutely disgusts me. Let's talk about morals here!

    7:58 PM  

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