Via NY Transfer News Collective * All the News that Doesn't Fit
Attorney General Pinochet
by Prof Francis A. Boyle
November 11, 2004
As White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales originated, authorized,
approved, and aided and abetted grave breaches of the Third and Fourth
Geneva Conventions of 1949, which are serious war crimes. In other words,
Gonzales is a prima facie war criminal. He must be prosecuted under the
Geneva Conventions and the US War Crimes Act.
For example, article 129 of the Third Geneva Convention on Prisoners of
War provides in relevant part with respect to presumptive U.S. war
criminals such as Gonzales: "Each High Contracting Party shall be under
the obligation to search for persons alleged to have committed, or to
have ordered to be committed, such graves breaches, and shall bring such
persons, regardless of their nationality, before its own courts."
To the same effect is article 146 of the Fourth Geneva Convention
protecting Civilians in wartime. This obligation to prosecute Gonzales
applies to every High Contracting Party to the Geneva Conventions, which
means every state in the world. And there is no statute of limitations
for the commission of such serious war crimes.
The same conclusions can be reached by the application of U.S.
Department of the Army Field Manual 27-10, The Law of Land Warfare, which,
by its own terms, also applies to civil
Beyond The Roots Of Abu
Ghraib lian government officials involved
in ordering or participating in the commission of war crimes.
In any event, the U.S. Senate must reject his nomination. As a
presumptive war criminal, Gonzales is not fit to be Attorney General of
the United States of America. Should Gonzales travel around the world in
that capacity, human rights lawyers such as myself will attempt to get
him prosecuted wherever he might go along the lines of what happened
to General Pinochet in London. Like pirates, war criminals are hostes
humani generis--the enemies of all humankind.
[Francis A. Boyle is a Professor of International Law and the author of
"Destroying World Order" (Clarity Press: 2004)]
Search the NYTr Archives at:
What About Bush's Moral Values In Nominating
Gonzales For AG?
According to the
AP just now, White House counsel Alberto Gonzales has been selected by
Bush to replace John Ashcroft as Bush’s second Attorney General. If so,
his confirmation hearings will be a reminder to many of what the Bush
Administration did wrong in allowing Abu Ghraib to happen. Why?
Because it was Gonzales that wrote the widely-disputed
that justified Bush’s rejection of the Geneva Convention protocols in the
treatment of Afghan and Taliban prisoners, and he crafted an argument
aimed at shielding Bush and the military command from war crimes
They (the Administration) began with the plausible argument that the
Geneva Conventions were anachronistic in an age of asymmetrical, non-state
warfare. Al Qaeda didn't wear uniforms or fight according to the laws of
war, they reasoned, and so they were not necessarily entitled to the
conventions' protections. But the
lawyers—including White House counsel Alberto Gonzales, Defense Department
general counsel William Haynes II, Vice President Cheney's counsel David
Addington, and Jay Bybee of the Justice Department (who now sits on the
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals)—went further. They advised the president
to sign a blanket statement of policy that the men captured in Afghanistan
would not be subject to the Geneva Conventions, and that by executive
fiat, they would all be declared “unlawful enemy combatants,” a category
that does not exist in international law. White House, Justice
Department and Pentagon lawyers also pushed President Bush to sign a
secret finding on Feb. 7, 2002, that would have far-reaching consequences
for the nation and the world. “I… determine that none of the provisions of
Geneva apply to our conflict with al Qaeda in Afghanistan or elsewhere
throughout the world,” this document determined, adding that the White
House also had “the authority under the Constitution to suspend Geneva as
between the United States and Afghanistan, but I decline to exercise that
authority at this time.” For all intents and purposes, these memoranda
gutted the Geneva Conventions.
You can also be sure that hooking Gonzales up as AG in a second term to
serve alongside Rummy will be the final straw in pushing Colin Powell out
the door. Given how shocked various GOP senators were in seeing what
transpired at Abu Ghraib, and knowing how upset even John Warner is at
being stonewalled by the Pentagon and the White House over his requests
for information on Abu Ghraib, it's easy to see how the Democrats can form
alliances with GOP moderates to strongly fight any Gonzales nomination to
the highest law enforcement post in the land.
If John Warner and Lindsey Graham are that concerned about the Abu
Ghraib debacle, and if John McCain shares Colin Powell's revulsion at the
trashing of the Geneva Convention protocols and what it means for American
POWs from here on out, how can any of these three vote for the architect
of that legal doctrine to be our AG? Sure, the White House will replay the
Miguel Estrada red herring that any vote against Gonzales is a vote
against Hispanics, but that is garbage, and the Democrats need to
immediately begin drumming the message that a vote for Gonzales is a vote
for Abu Ghraib.
It also doesn't help Bush's cause that Gonzales was counsel for Enron
as well. My, my, what moral values are on display now?
I mean, if the GOP can bounce Clinton's AG choices Kimba Wood and Zoe
Baird because they didn't pay Social Security taxes on domestic help, then
I guess Democrats can work to bounce Bush's choice for his role in
perpetrating war crimes, right? I mean, isn't there some equivalence there
Update: This nomination will be the gift that keeps on giving.
There is much more than can blow up in Bush’s face at the confirmation
hearings for this supposedly moral values administration.
As one example, commenter TR points out Gonzales’
withholding of pertinent information from then-Governor Bush in scores
of death penalty cases while he and W were executing folks right and left.
Does the GOP really want to force its moral values base to confront its
support for the death penalty while claiming to be good Christians,
especially if the nominee
Second, what would Gonzales’ confirmation as AG do to the Plame
investigation, given that he has already been
dragged in to testify?
May 20, 2004 Orders to Torture
The Abu Ghraib prison scandal now implicates the highest levels of the
Bush Administration in violating federal law and in war crimes. In barely
two weeks, the story has shifted from horrific photographs of prisoners to
intimations of homicide; from prison mismanagement blamed on the fog of
war to the cool clarity of deliberate White House designs to protect
torturers from prosecution; from "the six morons who lost the war" to the
Defense Secretary, the White House Counsel and the President himself.
The Texas Clemency Memos
As the legal counsel to Texas Governor George W. Bush, Alberto R.
Gonzales—now the White House counsel, and widely regarded as a likely
future Supreme Court nominee—prepared fifty-seven confidential
death-penalty memoranda for Bush's review. Never before discussed
publicly, the memoranda suggest that Gonzales repeatedly failed to apprise
Bush of some of the most salient issues in the cases at hand
by Alan Berlow
On the morning of May 6, 1997, Governor George W. Bush signed his name to
a confidential three-page memorandum from his legal counsel, Alberto R.
Gonzales, and placed a bold black check mark next to a single word: DENY.
It was the twenty-ninth time a death-row inmate's plea for clemency had
been denied in the twenty-eight months since Bush had been sworn in. In
this case Bush's signature led, shortly after 6:00 P.M. on the very same
day, to the execution of Terry Washington, a mentally retarded
thirty-three-year-old man with the communication skills of a
Washington's death was barely noted by the media, and the governor's
office issued no statement about it. But the execution and the three-page
memo that sealed Washington's fate—along with dozens of similar memoranda
prepared for Bush—speak volumes about the way the clemency process was
approached both by Bush and by Gonzales, the man most often mentioned as
the President's choice for the next available seat on the Supreme Court.
Thanks to Newsweek's Michael Hirsh, John Barry, and Daniel Klaidman (A
Tortured Debate), we now know something of what went on in the White House
itself after "President Bush had declared war on Al Qaeda, and in a series
of covert directives, he had authorized the CIA to set up secret
interrogation facilities and to use new, harsher methods… The handling of
[captured al-Qaeda figure] al-Libi touched off a long-running battle over
interrogation tactics inside the administration. It is a struggle that
continued right up until the Abu Ghraib scandal broke in April -- and it
extended into the White House… [Justice Department lawyer John] Yoo's
August 2002 memo [now posted] was prompted by CIA questions about what to
do with a top Qaeda captive, Abu Zubaydah, who had turned uncooperative.
And it was drafted after White House meetings conv''Bush
is thumbing his nose at the international community and all those who
respect human rights by nominating Gonzales,'' Rothschild told IPS.
ened by George W. Bush's chief counsel, Alberto Gonzales, along
with Defense Department general counsel William Haynes and David Addington,
Vice President Dick Cheney's counsel, who discussed specific interrogation
techniques, says a source familiar with the discussions. Among the methods
they found acceptable: ‘water-boarding,' or dripping water into a wet
cloth over a suspect's face, which can feel like drowning; and threatening
to bring in more-brutal interrogators from other nations."
Gonzales was part of Bush's inner circle of advisers during the executions
of mentally retarded killer Terry Washington in 1997 and pickax murderer
Karla Faye Tucker, for whom clemency was sought by Pope John Paul II, in
While Texas' governor, Bush
oversaw more than 150 executions.
Liberals are reviewing a 2003 Atlantic Monthly magazine article claiming
that as Bush's legal counsel in Texas, Gonzales on clemency petitions
"repeatedly failed to appraise the governor of crucial issues in the cases
at hand: ineffective counsel, conflict of interest, mitigating evidence,
even actual evidence of innocence."
The attorney general should be someone who will "not approach this topic
with a cavalier attitude," said David Elliot, spokesman for the National
Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.
Gonzales wrong for
why won't Bush pick a pro-life nominee?
Judie Brown, president of American Life League, issued the following
statement in response to news that White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales is
being considered as the replacement for U.S. Attorney General John
President Bush appears to be doing all that he can to downright ignore
pro-life principle. There can be no other explanation for his
recommendation of Alberto Gonzales as attorney general. Gonzales has a
record, and that record is crystal clear.
As a Texas Supreme Court justice, Gonzales' rulings implied he does not
view abortion as a heinous crime. Choosing not to rule against abortion,
in any situation, is the epitome of denying justice for an entire segment
of the American population - preborn babies in the womb.
When asked if his own personal feelings about abortion would play a role
in his decisions, Gonzales told the Los Angeles Times in 2001 that his
"own personal feelings about abortion don't matter… The question is, what
is the law, what is the precedent, what is binding in rendering your
decision. Sometimes, interpreting a statute, you may have to uphold a
statute that you may find personally offensive. But as a judge, that's
your job." Gonzales' position is clear: the personhood of the preborn
human being is secondary to technical points of law, and that is a deadly
perspective for anyone to take.
President Bush claims he wants to assist in bringing about a culture of
life. Such a culture begins with total protection for every innocent human
being from the moment that person's life begins. Within the short period
of one week, the president has been silent on pro-abortion Sen. Arlen
Specter's desire to chair the senate judiciary committee, and has spoken
out in favor of a judge with a pro-abortion track record to lead the
Why is President Bush betraying the babies? Justice begins with protecting
the most vulnerable in our midst. Please, Mr. President - just say no to
the unjust views of Alberto Gonzales. http://www.all.org/hp1.htm
Meet Alberto Gonzales The man picked by President Bush to be the next
attorney general believes the Constitution is a living document and that
only the nine black-robed brethren have sufficient understanding of the
document to explain to the people what it means. -- I heard
Alberto Gonzales make this statement with my own ears in a private
dinner meeting two years ago.
Alberto R. Gonzales
February 3, 2005, 04:29 PM
Not Voting 4
Just click "search" for more information on Gonzales
Unocal executives fête Taliban ministers at their homes in Texas. "Oil barons
court Taliban in Texas",
"The Islamic warriors appear to have been persuaded to close the deal, not
through delicate negotiation but by old-fashioned Texan hospitality. Last week
Unocal, the Houston-based company bidding to build the 876-mile pipeline from
Turkmenistan to Pakistan, invited the Taliban to visit them in Texas...The
Taliban ministers and their advisers stayed in a five-star hotel and were
chauffeured in a company minibus...The men, who are accustomed to life without
heating, electricity or running water, were amazed by the luxurious homes of
Texan oil barons. Invited to dinner at the palatial home of Martin Miller, a
vice-president of Unocal, they marvelled at his swimming pool, views of the golf
course and six bathrooms. After a meal of specially prepared halal meat, rice
and Coca-Cola, the hardline fundamentalists - who have banned women from working
and girls from going to school - asked Mr Miller about his Christmas tree."