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Open letters to Alberto Gonzales

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posted on Jan, 11 2005 @ 03:23 PM
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(Marj Cohn lays the wood to him here folks!! )


Dear Mr. Gonzales,

You have been rewarded for your unflinching loyalty to George W. Bush with a nomination for Attorney General of the United States. As White House Counsel, you have walked in lockstep with the President. As Attorney General, you will be charged with representing all the people of the United States. Your performance before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday verified that you will continue to be a yes-man for Bush once you are confirmed.

In the face of interrogation by members of the Committee, you waffled, equivocated, lied, feigned lack of memory, and even remained silent, in the face of the most probing questions. Your refusals to answer prompted Senator Patrick Leahy to say, "Mr. Gonzales, I'd almost think that you'd served in the Senate, you've learned how to filibuster so well."

Even though the Department of Justice retracted the August 2002 torture memo, and replaced it with a new one on the eve of your confirmation hearing, you still refuse to denounce the old memo's narrow and illegal definition of torture. You permitted that definition to remain as government policy for 2 1/2 years, which enabled the torture of countless prisoners in U.S. custody.

You continually evaded inquiries about your responsibility for drafting the now-repudiated memo by portraying yourself as a mere conduit for legal opinions from the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel. This puzzled Senator Russ Feingold, who said, "If you were my lawyer, I'd sure want to know your opinion about something like that."

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham told you, "I think we've dramatically undermined the war effort by getting on the slippery slope in terms of playing cute with the law, because it's come back to bite us." Indeed, 12 retired professional military leaders of the U.S. Armed Forces wrote to the Judiciary Committee, expressing "deep concern" about your nomination because detention and interrogation operations which you appeared to have "played a significant role in shaping" have "undermined our intelligence gathering efforts, and added to the risks facing our troops serving around the world."

When Senator Graham, an Air Force judge advocate, asked you if you agreed with a professional military lawyer's opinion that the August memo may have put our troops in jeopardy, you were tongue tied. You said nothing for several embarrassing seconds, until Senator Graham suggested you think it over and respond later.

When Senator Richard Durbin asked "Do you believe there are circumstances where other legal restrictions, like the War Crimes Act, would not apply to U.S. personnel?" you again sat mute for several seconds, and then asked to respond later.

It is alarming, Mr. Gonzales, that a lawyer with your pedigree would be stumped into silence by these questions.

You have taken the unprecedented step of advising the President that the Geneva Conventions have become "obsolete." You testified that since "we are fighting a new type of enemy and a new type of war," you "think it is appropriate to revisit whether or not Geneva should be revisited." You admitted preliminary discussions are already underway.

The 12 former military leaders wrote, "Repeatedly in our past, the United States has confronted foes that, at the time they emerged, posed threats of a scope or nature unlike any we had previously faced. But we have been far more steadfast in the past in keeping faith with our national commitment to the rule of law."

Mr. Gonzales, you have concurred in, even commissioned, advice that led to the following:

# Sodomy with a broomstick, chemical light, metal object Severe beatings
# Water boarding (simulated drowning)
# Electric shock
# Attaching electrodes to private parts
# Forced masturbation
# Pulling out fingernails
# Pushing lit cigarettes into ears
# Chaining hand and foot in fetal position without food or water
# Forced standing on one leg in the sun
# Feigned suffocation
# Gagging with duct tape
# Tormenting with loud music and strobe lights
# Sleep deprivation
# Hooding
# Subjecting to freezing/sweltering temperatures
# "Dietary manipulation"
# Repeated, prolonged rectal exams
# Hanging by arms from hooks
# Permitting serious dog bites
# Bending back fingers
# Intense isolation for more than 3 months
# Grabbing genitals
# Severe burning
# Stacking of naked prisoners in pyramids
# Injecting with drugs
# Leaving bullet in body of wounded prisoner
# Taping naked prisoner to board
# Shooting into containers with men inside
# Keeping prisoners in small, outdoor cages
# Pepper spraying in face
# Forcing heads into toilets and flushing
# Threatening live burial, drowning, electrocution, rape and death
# Beating prisoners to death
# Killing wounded prisoners
# Throwing off bridge into river and drowning
# Rape
# Murder

Saddam Hussein would be proud of you, Mr. Gonzales.

Perhaps most alarming was your response to Senator Durbin's question, "Can U.S. personnel legally engage in torture under any circumstances?" You answered, "I don't believe so, but I'd want to get back to you on that." You failed to give a categorical "no" answer. You surely know, Mr. Gonzales, that the Convention Against Torture prohibits torture at any time. That treaty, ratified by the United States and therefore part of the Supreme law of the land under the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution, says, "No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability, or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification for torture."

........continued here

*******************************************

Brigadier General David M. Brahms (Ret. USMC) General Joseph Hoar (Ret. USMC)
Brigadier General James Cullen (Ret. USA) Rear Admiral John D. Hutson (Ret. USN)
Brigadier General Evelyn P. Foote (Ret. USA) Lieutenant General Claudia Kennedy (Ret. USA)
Lieutenant General Robert Gard (Ret. USA) General Merrill McPeak (Ret. USAF)
Vice Admiral Lee F. Gunn (Ret. USN) Major General Melvyn Montano (Ret. USAF Nat. Guard)
Rear Admiral Don Guter (Ret. USN) General John Shalikashvili (Ret. USA)

The Honorable Members of the Senate Judiciary
United States Senate
Committee on the Judiciary
224 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

AN OPEN LETTER TO THE SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE:

Dear Senator

We, the undersigned, are retired professional military leaders of the U.S. Armed Forces. We write to express our deep concern about the nomination of Alberto R. Gonzales to be Attorney General, and to urge you to explore in detail his views concerning the role of the Geneva Conventions in U.S. detention and interrogation policy and practice.

During his tenure as White House Counsel, Mr. Gonzales appears to have played a significant role in shaping U.S. detention and interrogation operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Guantánamo Bay, and elsewhere. Today, it is clear that these operations have fostered greater animosity toward the United States, undermined our intelligence gathering efforts, and added to the risks facing our troops serving around the world. Before Mr. Gonzales assumes the position of Attorney General, it is critical to understand whether he intends to adhere to the positions he adopted as White House Counsel, or chart a revised course more consistent with fulfilling our nation's complex security interests, and maintaining a military that operates within the rule of law.

Among his past actions that concern us most, Mr. Gonzales wrote to the President on January 25, 2002, advising him that the Geneva Conventions did not apply to the conflict then underway in Afghanistan. More broadly, he wrote that the "war on terrorism" presents a "new paradigm [that] renders obsolete Geneva's" protections.

The reasoning Mr. Gonzales advanced in this memo was rejected by many military leaders at the time, including Secretary of State Colin Powell who argued that abandoning the Geneva Conventions would put our soldiers at greater risk, would "reverse over a century of U.S. policy and practice in supporting the Geneva Conventions," and would "undermine the protections of the rule of law for our troops, both in this specific conflict [Afghanistan] and in general." State Department adviser William H. Taft IV agreed that this decision "deprives our troops [in Afghanistan] of any claim to the protection of the Conventions in the event they are captured and weakens the protections afforded by the Conventions to our troops in future conflicts." Mr. Gonzales' recommendation also ran counter to the wisdom of former U.S. prisoners of war. As Senator John McCain has observed: "I am certain we all would have been a lot worse off if there had not been the Geneva Conventions around which an international consensus formed about some very basic standards of decency that should apply even amid the cruel excesses of war."

Mr. Gonzales' reasoning was also on the wrong side of history. Repeatedly in our past, the United States has confronted foes that, at the time they emerged, posed threats of a scope or nature unlike any we had previously faced. But we have been far more steadfast in the past in keeping faith with our national commitment to the rule of law. During the Second World War, General Dwight D. Eisenhower explained that the allies adhered to the law of war in their treatment of prisoners because "the Germans had some thousands of American and British prisoners and I did not want to give Hitler the excuse or justification for treating our prisoners more harshly than he already was doing." In Vietnam, U.S. policy required that the Geneva Conventions be observed for all enemy prisoners of war - both North Vietnamese regulars and Viet Cong - even though the Viet Cong denied our own prisoners of war the same protections. And in the 1991 Persian Gulf War, the United States afforded Geneva Convention protections to more than 86,000 Iraqi prisoners of war held in U.S. custody. The threats we face today - while grave and complex - no more warrant abandoning these basic principles than did the threats of enemies past.

Perhaps most troubling of all, the White House decision to depart from the Geneva Conventions in Afghanistan went hand in hand with the decision to relax the definition of torture and to alter interrogation doctrine accordingly. Mr. Gonzales' January 2002 memo itself warned that the decision not to apply Geneva Convention standards "could undermine U.S. military culture which emphasizes maintaining the highest standards of conduct in combat, and could introduce an element of uncertainty in the status of adversaries." Yet Mr. Gonzales then made that very recommendation with reference to Afghanistan, a policy later extended piece by piece to Iraq. Sadly, the uncertainty Mr. Gonzales warned about came to fruition. As James R. Schlesinger's panel reviewing Defense Department detention operations concluded earlier this year, these changes in doctrine have led to uncertainty and confusion in the field, contributing to the abuses of detainees at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere, and undermining the mission and morale of our troops.

The full extent of Mr. Gonzales' role in endorsing or implementing the interrogation practices the world has now seen remains unclear. A series of memos that were prepared at his direction in 2002 recommended official authorization of harsh interrogation methods, including waterboarding, feigned suffocation, and sleep deprivation. As with the recommendations on the Geneva Conventions, these memos ignored established U.S. military policy, including doctrine prohibiting "threats, insults, or exposure to inhumane treatment as a means of or aid to interrogation." Indeed, the August 1, 2002 Justice Department memo analyzing the law on interrogation references health care administration law more than five times, but never once cites the U.S. Army Field Manual on interrogation. The Army Field Manual was the product of decades of experience - experience that had shown, among other things that such interrogation methods produce unreliable results and often impede further intelligence collection. Discounting the Manual's wisdom on this central point shows a disturbing disregard for the decades of hardwon knowledge of the professional American military.

..................continued

Here are my reservations:

- this AG appointment has to do with nothing else but a near feudalistic paid favors system; it has nothing to do with talent and even less to do with the 'best person for the job' practicallity that it should be predicated on.

- the 'Latino flavor' vote ploy is too obvious for words, but more importantly, it serves to illustrate a false sense inclusion.

- the ascent of Gonzales is in direct analogy to his willing to act as a tool for those who can further his power reach. That vehicle has been the Bush clan.....what will follow in his tenure will be the most convaluted &legally twisted interepttions that would allow anything and everything on a Bush agenda, damn the Constitution.




posted on Jan, 11 2005 @ 03:33 PM
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Whoa that is some pretty hard stuff, I kind of feel sorry for the poor bastard now that he has to open his business to everybody to scrutinized


But that is what you get for doing things the wrong way. it always come back to bite you.



posted on Jan, 11 2005 @ 04:05 PM
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Originally posted by marg6043
I kind of feel sorry for the poor bastard now that he has to open his business to everybody to scrutinized



Your sympathies are entirely misdirected.

The challenge for readers who care to take note of what this administration has done, is to understand that the actions have been taken by bloody minded and criminally behaving persons in positions of power, and not by all Americans.

Why would be a sympathizer with Gonzales or Bush on these policies or their effects?



posted on Jan, 11 2005 @ 05:06 PM
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Originally posted by MaskedAvatar
The challenge for readers who care to take note of what this administration has done, is to understand that the actions have been taken by bloody minded and criminally behaving persons in positions of power, and not by all Americans.


Hopefully we, the American People can remove these same bastards from office and permanently remand them to a holding institution where they can get the treatment they truly deserve, the same treatment that they authorized and promoted to be used on others. Then, after they complain about the miserable treatment we can tell them "We'll get back to you on that."



posted on Jan, 11 2005 @ 05:20 PM
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First who is this Marjorie Cohn ? Second where is all the evidence of all this torture you would need some pretty good evidence of everyone one of these claims.

About two of these


# Pepper spraying in face ( Pepper spray in the face were the heck do they think you are suppose to pepper spray people)

# Forcing heads into toilets and flushing
(A swirly are they kidding welcome to highschool.)



posted on Jan, 11 2005 @ 05:50 PM
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Originally posted by ShadowXIX
First who is this Marjorie Cohn ?
Law Professor & VP of the National Lawyers Guild....she knows a thing or two about the application of our laws.

Second where is all the evidence of all this torture you would need some pretty good evidence of everyone one of these claims. The report by US General Antonio Taguba; I forget which thread, but someone posted the bulk or a PDF file on it here at ATS

About two of these


# Pepper spraying in face ( Pepper spray in the face were the heck do they think you are suppose to pepper spray people)

# Forcing heads into toilets and flushing
(A swirly are they kidding welcome to highschool.)

Well, I know I could inflict substantial damage on you by employing some very mundane and seemingly mild initiatives. The trick is in how they're applied & in what combonation & in what time line



posted on Jan, 11 2005 @ 06:03 PM
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Certainly a shame that good ole' Marjorie Cohn isn't up for U.S. Attorney General like Mr. Gonzales is, huh Bout Time? Then maybe she can correct the inhumane treatments that persist today on nearly 99.5% of college campus's today that utilize hazing techiniques that make what she is whining about look like a girl scout camp, eh? Maybe she then could rectify the current military specialty units that employ techniques for 'new recruits and possible inductees (SEAL's, ParaRescue, Grren Berets, etc., etc.) that make such whining appear mundane.

Sadly, even she fails to realize that the Geneva Convention, when applied to today's "terrorist", not uniformed national military personel, needs changing. Who said the line that "you can't handle the truth", anyhow? Because in this case, the truth is that despite humane versus inhumane, the kid gloves against terrorist has to come off. Until then, they know they can continue to act as they do, because they will be protected and covered by the humane Geneva Convention, all the while, continuing to commit terrorist acts that are quite inhumane, huh?


More power to ya, and Mrs/Ms Cohn.





seekerof

[edit on 11-1-2005 by Seekerof]



posted on Jan, 12 2005 @ 08:56 AM
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....I love low brow humor. One of my favorite cartoons was when Ren & Stimpy went into the Tank Brigade. Part of their boot camp was to stay in a gased room without gas masks......it brought back memories!

Seek, again as I mentioned to another poster, if you partition these acts as stand alone initiatives, they are innocuous. It's the systamatic application.

But on a bigger note, it's a horrible appointment that does nothing but illustrate the cronyism of the Bush clan, and the absolute disregard for even the appearence of proprity.
I know your positions, but can you really support Gonzalez's argument for keeping Cheney's Energy task Force notes a secret? You put that up to "national Security"? Or his "torture" authorizing interpretations? From his days of being Bush's Chief Election Officer in Texas, he's been a taint.

Good God man, Bush could have selected Arlene Specter or Richard Shelby or someone outside of the Texas Mafia & still a black souled Republican! ( is there any other kind !?!?!
)



posted on Jan, 12 2005 @ 09:03 AM
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The problem is that Bush administration has to have the kind of man that will agree with the change of our laws and will help take our citizens civil rights with not guilt at all and so far that is what he has been doing.

Now look at the new home land security, he has some thing in his work history that makes them a prime candidate in the Bush Regime.

Even when he has not experience with security.

[edit on 12-1-2005 by marg6043]



posted on Jan, 12 2005 @ 09:36 AM
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So all you LIB's don't care that your hero prez........zipperboy, had a AG that murdered children, abducted them at gunpoint and sent them off to a communist terror state.

Go pound sand................ATS is nothing but a Lib hate america board.

Goodby and have fun in hell......................
Doc is not GOING TO TAKE IT anymore.......

[edit on 12-1-2005 by DrHoracid]



posted on Jan, 12 2005 @ 09:44 AM
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My letter would say:

Thank you Mr. Gonzales for your continuing work to protect the American people despite coming under personal slanderous attacks from the angry left. You've recognized that we live in a different world today and know that we're not fighting the armies of civilized nations with soldiers who have values similar to us anymore. These people don't want a resolution to war and go home to family and friends, win or lose...they want a fight to the death and will do anything outside the laws of wars and of nations to harm the most civilians they possibly can. You have recognized that this critical change in circumstances demand an adjustment to our warfare and intelligence-gathering practices. I applaud you for your bold initiative.

[edit on 1/12/2005 by djohnsto77]



posted on Jan, 12 2005 @ 10:36 AM
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Originally posted by DrHoracid
So all you LIB's don't care that your hero prez........zipperboy, had a AG that murdered children, abducted them at gunpoint and sent them off to a communist terror state.

Go pound sand................ATS is nothing but a Lib hate america board.

Goodby and have fun in hell......................
Doc is not GOING TO TAKE IT anymore.......

[edit on 12-1-2005 by DrHoracid]


Children really shouldn't post on adult topics. Get old enough to be drafted & vote, then come back and enlighten us.



posted on Jan, 12 2005 @ 10:41 AM
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Originally posted by Seekerof
Then maybe she can correct the inhumane treatments that persist today on nearly 99.5% of college campus's today that utilize hazing techiniques that make what she is whining about look like a girl scout camp, eh?


Is this a joke? Anyone who thinks a college hazing is comparable to being anally raped with a chemical light had some very warped 'friends' at college.

Funny how all those girl scouts come back from camp with smiles and badges rather than scowls and stretch marks...



posted on Jan, 12 2005 @ 10:50 AM
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Originally posted by Bout Time

Originally posted by DrHoracid
So all you LIB's don't care that your hero prez........zipperboy, had a AG that murdered children, abducted them at gunpoint and sent them off to a communist terror state.

Go pound sand................ATS is nothing but a Lib hate america board.

Goodby and have fun in hell......................
Doc is not GOING TO TAKE IT anymore.......

[edit on 12-1-2005 by DrHoracid]


Children really shouldn't post on adult topics. Get old enough to be drafted & vote, then come back and enlighten us.


When you have a clue about the real world then perhaps you can speak on my level. I am sick an tired of the complete arrogance of Libs in MY country. Get out while you can, all of you. Rational discussion is impossible with "grownups" like yourself. Tell me did "you" graduate from high school yet............



[edit on 12-1-2005 by DrHoracid]



posted on Jan, 12 2005 @ 10:59 AM
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So now that the senate committee has put on a dog and pony show to make it appear they care, when will they be knighting this man as your new AG?



posted on Jan, 12 2005 @ 11:35 AM
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actually, we have had a few young teens get into serious trouble with anal sex in the gymroom after football practice....it was a pretty big deal really. Seems that the judge disagreed with the school about the serverity of it. The school actually defied court orders that the victim shouldn't be in contact with the kids and well, hey, they were on the football field shortly after.....instead of the perpetrators being in a juvenile detention center where they belong.....how many college kids have died because of hazing....gee, when they die, the acts are considered illegal.....

and well, the geneva convention wasn't the only thing that was broken. We have laws forbidding this kind of treatment for prisoners other than that. I really believe it goes back to the christian reconstructionists theology that basicallly says that God's laws are above ours and it's okay for those in power to commit the small sins for the greater good.

SO, the laws were in place forbidding this type of behavior, this guy wrote a memo that seems to encourage the defiance of these laws and policies were put into place that eventually led to service men and women now being court martialed because of these new policies.

okay, a question was asked at that hearing, that none of the libs could find the answer to.

If you had a terrorist that you knew had information that could save thousand of lives, would you resort to torture (or send the order down to others) to get that information?

Here's my answer, maybe I would. It would be a decision that when making I would be considering just how much I believed would be gained from the action vrs just how unwilling I would be to face the consequences of those actions. And, if I was willing to order others to do it, I sure the heck would be willing to step in and try to prevent them from taking the blame. I would have to have enough belief that I was right and convince a jury of this, that I would at least accept responsibility for my own actions....
Since, if I believed it was right, then obviously, I believe that the laws that made these actions illegal would need some refining....

I wouldn't hide the facts or lie about them....

so, whoever is trying to justify this now who might be a christian, let me ask you this.....
do you really believe making prisoners pose for these types of pictures is proper christian behavior....since you seem to be justifying it.
I already said a few times, this idea that we will install "God's Law" as the supreme law of the land will lead to the christian religion being made into a laughing stock, just like the crusaders gave the non-christians plenty of justification for not believing in your religion. This is what I mean....we now have christians justifying inhumane, immoral, acts....so to preserve the position of their great champions in the white house.



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