Alberto Gonzales' record as White House Counsel, as Texas Chief Legal Counsel, and as Texas Supreme Court Justice demonstrate an absolute contempt for basic human rights and international law.
George W. Bush has nominated Alberto Gonzales for the position of Attorney General, and his confirmation hearings have already begun. Gonzales is currently appearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Contact the Senate Judiciary Committee to Voice Your Opposition to the confirmation of Alberto Gonzales as Attorney General:
United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary
Arlen Specter - chair; Tel: 202-224-4254; Fax: 202-228-1229; E-mail: email@example.com
*The contact information for other members of the Senate Judiciary Committee is included at the bottom of this message.
Alberto Gonzales: A Record Of Injustice, Corruption, And Violations Of International Law.
Gonzales called International Law "quaint" and "obsolete.
According to a January 2002 memo to George Bush, Gonzales claimed that the U.S. is not bound by the Geneva Conventions. He told Bush in writing that the Geneva Conventions are "quaint" and "obsolete," and that certain detainees exempt from the Geneva Conventions' provisions on the proper, legal treatment of prisoners. He said, "the war against terrorism is a new kind of war" and "this new paradigm renders obsolete Geneva's strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners and renders quaint some of its provisions."
Gonzales Approved Memo Authorizing Torture.
Gonzales approved a Justice Department document which redefined the meaning of the word torture. The August 2002 Justice Department memo included the opinion that laws prohibiting torture do "not apply to the President's detention and interrogation of enemy combatants." Further, the memo puts forth the opinion that the pain caused by an interrogation must include "injury such as death, organ failure, or serious impairment of body functions"in order to constitute torture."
According to Newsweek, the memo "was drafted after White House meetings convened by George W. Bush's chief counsel, Alberto Gonzales, along with Defense Department general counsel William Haynes and [Cheney counsel] David Addington."
Gonzales Demonstrated Contempt For Basic Legal Rights.
Gonzales defended the ability of President George W. Bush to seize U.S. citizens and hold them indefinitely as prisoners with access to lawyers or even a criminal charge, in violation of Amendments 4-8 of the Bill of Rights. He also helped to write the infamous Patriot Act and has defended the Act in despite its violation of basic freedoms guaranteed in the Bill of Rights.
As Texas Chief Legal Counsel Gonzales Told Then Governor Bush That He Could Ignore International Law.
In 1997, Alberto Gonzales wrote a memo for then Gov. Bush to justify non-compliance with the Vienna Convention. The Vienna Convention, ratified by the Senate in 1969, was "designed to ensure that foreign nationals accused of a crime are given access to legal counsel by a representative from their home country." Gonzales said that the treaty didn't apply to the State of Texas, as Texas was not a signatory to the Vienna Convention. Two days later, Bush executed Mexican citizen Irineo Tristan Montoya, despite Mexico's protestations that Texas had violated Tristan's rights under the Vienna Convention by failing to inform the Mexican consulate at the time of his arrest.
As Texas Chief Legal Counsel Gonzales Assisted Bush In The Execution Of 152 People, Including Mentally Disabled Defendants.
As chief legal counsel for then Governor Bush, Gonzales was responsible for writing a memo on the facts of each death penalty case Bush decided whether a defendant should be executed based on these memos. According to the Atlantic Monthly [July/August, 2003], "Gonzales repeatedly failed to apprise the governor of crucial issues in the cases at hand: ineffective counsel, conflict of interest, mitigating evidence, even actual evidence of innocence." As a result, Bush frequently approved executions based on "only the most cursory briefings on the issues in dispute." Rather than informing the governor of the conflicting circumstances in a case, "The memoranda seem attuned to a radically different posture, assumed by Bush from the earliest days of his administration"one in which he sought to minimize his sense of legal and moral responsibility for executions."
For example, in his memo on Terry Washington a mentally disabled 33-year-old man with the communication skills of a seven-year-old Gonzales devoted nearly a third of his three-page report to the gruesome details of the crime, but referred "only fleetingly to the central issue in Washington's clemency appeal"his limited mental capacity, which was never disputed by the State of Texas"and present[ed] it as part of a discussion of 'conflicting information' about the condemned man's childhood."
Gonzales "failed to mention that Washington's mental limitations, and the fact that he and his ten siblings were regularly beaten with whips, water hoses, extension cords, wire hangers, and fan belts, were never made known to the jury, although both the district attorney and Washington's trial lawyer knew of this potentially mitigating evidence." Nor did he mention that Washington's lawyer had "failed to enlist a mental-health expert" to testify on Washington's behalf, even though "ineffective counsel and mental retardation were in fact the central issues raised in the thirty-page clemency petition" it was Gonzales's job to review. This all came at a time when "demand was growing nationwide to ban executions of the retarded."
Gonzales Does The Bidding Of Enron And Other Big Energy Companies.
Enron and Enron's law firm were Gonzales's biggest campaign contributors, while Gonzales was a member of the Texas Supreme Court, contributing $35,450 in 2000. Overall, Gonzales raked in $100,000 from the energy industry. This was money that was well spent-according to the New York Daily News, in May 2000, "Gonzales was author of a state Supreme Court opinion that handed the energy industry one of its biggest Texas legal victories in recent history." Since he was appointed White House Legal Counsel, Gonzales has hard to keep secret the details of meetings of Dick Cheney's National Energy Policy Development Group, where he was meeting with officials from Enron and other Big Oil companies and studying petro maps of Iraq.
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United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary