FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Alberto Torquemada

 

The Gonzales memos claimed that Bush had “the right to wave anti-torture law and international treaties providing protections to prisoners of war.”

Associated Press

Bush intends to put an advocate of torture at the head the Justice Dept. Is this how he rewards the “moral values” crowd who shoehorned him into the Oval Office?

Alberto Gonzales, name never should have been submitted as a candidate for Attorney General. His involvement in the Abu Ghraib scandal is widely known and should have immediately disqualified him from consideration. The memos he produced that dismissed the Geneva Conventions as “obsolete” were critical in developing the rationale for using abusive techniques to extract information from prisoners. Once his role in facilitating the torture was exposed, he should have been swiftly disbarred and unceremoniously deposited in the White House dumpster.

That,s not how it works in the Bush Administration though, where the incidents of crime serve as Brownie-points for promotion. Instead, Gonzales will be trotted up to Capital Hill and get the requisite “nod” from the rubber stamp Congress so he can move into his new digs at the DOJ. Only the signage on the door of the Attorney General will change to accommodate the transition: “Alberto Torquemada; America,s Grand Inquisitor”.

There,s no doubt about Gonzales complicity in the torture at Abu Ghraib. His controversial memos show that he was establishing the pretext for discarding Geneva as a “quaint” institution that obstructed the supreme powers of the presidency. His efforts were designed to deny prisoners of even the “minimal standards” of humane treatment and to legitimize the (well documented) brutality that followed. He is every bit as guilty of the unlawful abuse as if he had affixed the wires to the genitalia of detainees himself.

Historically the US has always paid lip-service to the cause of human rights. As signatories to the Geneva Conventions and the 1996 Anti-Torture Convention the Bush Administration is required to comply with rules that forbid the mistreatment of captives. Beyond that, the principle of human dignity is enshrined in the 8th Amendment,s ban against “cruel and inhuman punishment”; a crucial stopgap to excessive government power. These institutions reflect the national commitment to values that are consistent with democratic principles. The Gonzales nomination signals a turnaround in this trend. Bush wants to appoint a known human rights abuser as the top law enforcement officer in the country. It,s just another darkly ironic gesture from an imperious administration.

Gonzales personal biography is filled with tidbits that challenge his worthiness as future Attorney General. In Texas he was appointed the Governors general counsel, which means that he provided advice to Governor Bush on nearly 160 death penalty cases.

Now, there,s a cushy job; “green lighting” a bloodthirsty sociopath to dispatch as many people as possible to their eternal reward (via the electric chair). Is this what qualifies Gonzales as A.G?

The AP reports that Gonzales has “also built a reputation of loyalty to the president, fighting sometimes difficult legal battles. He blocked attempts by Congress to make public details of Vice President Dick Cheney’s energy commission meetings”. Gonzales legal expertise has been primarily devoted to obfuscating the corporate collusion and venal machinations of Bush Inc.

He has also defended the President,s right to incarcerate prisoners indefinitely without charges; investing the President with the implicit authority to rescind constitutional protections and overturn international law. Furthermore, he supports the horrible travesty of justice taking place at Guantanamo Bay. Gonzales defends the “so called” military tribunals even though they have been resoundingly condemned by Army attorneys, civil liberties advocates and the world press. Just last week US District Judge James Robertson put a stop to the Guantanamo proceedings, ruling that detainees are “entitled to protections afforded prisoners of war under Article 4 of the Geneva Convention” … and that they “may not be tried by a military commission.”

Judge Robertson,s appreciation of the law towers over that of Gonzales. But let,s not kid ourselves, Gonzales function is to dismantle the law not defend it. Even this brief summary proves that. As Attorney General his course is already charted; target political enemies, conceal the activities of the administration and immolate the law. These are the core principles that drive the engine of state where Gonzales is now being ushered to a front row seat.

Alberto Gonzales is the worst possible choice for the office of Attorney General. His contempt for the law is painfully conspicuous in every major action he has taken on the behalf of the administration. Several groups have already announced opposition to his nomination including the Center for Constitutional Rights, People for the American Way and Human Rights First. The paper trail that connects him to Abu Ghraib should precipitate a criminal investigation, not plaudits and rewards. His maneuverings have put him front-and-center with the pin-striped sadists who have engineered the new regime of torture camps, suspended liberties and corporate fascism.

We expect that his keen legal mind and his penchant for criminal activity will transport him quickly through the congressional hearings and plop him securely in the swivel seat at the Dept. of Justice.

MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He can be reached at: fergiewhitney@msn.com

 

 

More articles by:

MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at fergiewhitney@msn.com.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

April 25, 2019
Marc Levy
All My Vexes Are in Texas
Jim Kavanagh
Avoiding Assange
Michael D. Yates
The Road Beckons
Julian Vigo
Notre Dame Shows the Unifying Force of Culture, Grenfell Reveals the Corruption of Government
Ted Rall
Democratic Refusal to Impeach Could Be Disastrous
Tracey Harris
Lessons Learned From the Tiny House Movement
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Human Flourishing (Eudaimonia): an Antidote to Extinction?
Dana Johnson
Buyer Beware: Hovercraft Ruling Deals a Major Blow to Land Conservation in Alaska
Norman Solomon
Joe Biden: Puffery vs. Reality
Jen Marlowe
The Palestine Marathon
Binoy Kampmark
Lethal Bungling: Sri Lanka’s Easter Bombings
Michael Slager
“Where’s Your Plan?” Legalized Bribery and Climate Change
Jesse Jackson
Trump Plunges the US Deeper Into Forgotten Wars
George Wuerthner
BLM Grazing Decision Will Damage the Owyhee Canyonlands Wilderness
April 24, 2019
Susan Babbitt
Disdain and Dignity: An Old (Anti-Imperialist) Story
Adam Jonas Horowitz
Letter to the Emperor
Lawrence Davidson
A Decisive Struggle For Our Future
John Steppling
The Mandate for Israel: Keep the Arabs Down
Victor Grossman
Many Feet
Cira Pascual Marquina
The Commune is the Supreme Expression of Participatory Democracy: a Conversation with Anacaona Marin of El Panal Commune
Binoy Kampmark
Failed States and Militias: General Khalifa Haftar Moves on Tripoli
Dean Baker
Payments to Hospitals Aren’t Going to Hospital Buildings
Alvaro Huerta
Top Ten List in Defense of MEChA
Colin Todhunter
As the 2019 Indian General Election Takes Place, Are the Nation’s Farmers Being Dealt a Knock-Out Blow?
Charlie Gers
Trump’s Transgender Troops Ban is un-American and Inhumane
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Just Another Spring in Progress?
Thomas Knapp
On Obstruction, the Mueller Report is Clintonesque
Elliot Sperber
Every Truck’s a Garbage Truck
April 23, 2019
Peter Bolton
The Monroe Doctrine is Back, and as the Latest US Attack on Cuba Shows, Its Purpose is to Serve the Neoliberal Order
David Schultz
The Mueller Report: Trump Too Inept to Obstruct Justice
Geoff Beckman
Crazy Uncle Joe and the Can’t We All Just Get Along Democrats
Medea Benjamin
Activists Protect DC Venezuelan Embassy from US-supported Coup
Patrick Cockburn
What Revolutionaries in the Middle East Have Learned Since the Arab Spring
Jim Goodman
Don’t Fall for the Hype of Free Trade Agreements
Lance Olsen
Climate and Forests: Land Managers Must Adapt, and Conservationists, Too
William Minter
The Coming Ebola Epidemic
Tony McKenna
Stephen King’s IT: a 2019 Retrospective
David Swanson
Pentagon Claims 1,100 High Schools Bar Recruiters; Peace Activists Offer $1,000 Award If Any Such School Can Be Found
Gary Olson
A Few Comments on the recent PBS Series: Reconstruction: America After the Civil War
April 22, 2019
Melvin Goodman
The NYTs Tries to Rehabilitate Bloody Gina Haspel
Robert Fisk
After ISIS, a Divided Iraq, Wounded and Grief-Stricken
Binoy Kampmark
Julian Assange as Neuroses
John Laforge
Chernobyl’s Deadly Effects Estimates Vary
Kenneth Surin
Mueller Time? Not for Now
Cesar Chelala
Yemen: The Triumph of Barbarism
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail