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Alberto Gonzales, his Testimony vs. His Record
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From Sojourns

Attorney General nominee Alberto R. Gonzales has faced stiff questioning from both Republicans and Democrats for his role in policies that have bent long-established international norms prohibiting torture. Despite Gonzales' claims that "torture and abuse will not be tolerated by this administration," the details of his testimony and record are cause for deep concern:

HIS TESTIMONY
Gonzales claimed he could not recall details of his role in the production of the so-called Justice Department "torture memo" of August 2002 saying, "I don't recall today whether I was in agreement with all the analysis, but I don't have a disagreement with the conclusions then reached by the [Justice] department."

HIS RECORD
He actually chaired the meetings on this memo, which included detailed descriptions of interrogation techniques such as "waterboarding," which involves strapping a detainee to a board, raising the feet above the head, wrapping the face and nose in a wet towel, and dripping water onto the head to produce an unbearable sensation of drowning. He raised no objections and gave CIA interrogators the legal blessings they sought.

HIS TESTIMONY
Gonzales declined repeated invitations to repudiate past administration assertions that the president has the authority to ignore anti-torture statutes on national security grounds.

HIS RECORD
He advised President Bush in January 2002 that he had authority to exempt detainees from such protections as the Geneva Conventions.

HIS TESTIMONY
Gonzales said "it is appropriate to revisit" the Geneva Conventions. When questioned about whether U.S. personnel could legally engage in torture under any circumstances, Gonzales said: "I don't believe so, but I'd want to get back to you on that and make sure I don't provide a misleading answer."

HIS RECORD
A January 2002 draft memo signed by Gonzales stated that a "new paradigm" of a war on terrorism "renders obsolete Geneva's strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners."

Republicans such as Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (SC) challenged Gonzales, saying, "When you start looking at torture statutes and you look at ways around the spirit of the law...you're losing the moral high ground. Once you start down this road, it is very hard to come back. So I do believe we have lost our way, and my challenge to you as a leader of this nation is to help us find our way without giving up our obligation and right to fight our enemy."


Tell your Senators to insist that the Attorney General of the United States, the highest ranking law enforcement official, must clearly, consistently, and unequivocally uphold internationally recognized standards of human rights.


Click here to take action today

Quotes and information from The Washington Post:
Gonzales Defends His White House Record
Gonzales Helped Set the Course for Detainees

 

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