November 11, 2004

New AG nominee: White House counsel who called Geneva Conventions "quaint"

White House counsel Alberto Gonzales, who once described the Geneva Convention as outdated and “quaint,” may soon fill the post left vacant by John Ashcroft this week. Link to SF Chronicle article on the new nominee.

Mr. Gonzales effectively endorsed torture in America’s “war on terrorism,” as detailed in this Newsweek article:

As a means of pre-empting a repeat of 9/11, Bush, along with Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and Attorney General John Ashcroft, signed off on a secret system of detention and interrogation that opened the door to such methods. It was an approach that they adopted to sidestep the historical safeguards of the Geneva Conventions, which protect the rights of detainees and prisoners of war. In doing so, they overrode the objections of Secretary of State Colin Powell and America’s top military lawyers — and they left underlings to sweat the details of what actually happened to prisoners in these lawless places. While no one deliberately authorized outright torture, these techniques entailed a systematic softening up of prisoners through isolation, privations, insults, threats and humiliation — methods that the Red Cross concluded were “tantamount to torture.”
Link. And the NY Times has this series of excerpts from Mr. Gonzales’ legal writings: Link.