January 04, 2005

Questions for Alberto Gonzales

The American Prospect has provided a set of 10 questions that need to be asked of Alberto Gonzales when he goes before the Senate this week.

  1. Are there any circumstances under which you believe the President of the United States could legally authorize torture?
  2. Has your position on the Geneva Conventions changed since evidence of widespread detainee abuse at U.S. prisons was uncovered? If not, which provisions of the Geneva Conventions do you still consider “quaint” or “obsolete”?
  3. In your view, what limits did the September 14 joint resolution passed by Congress place on which countries the president could invade?
  4. Do you still believe that the state of Texas does not have to abide by the Vienna Convention?
  5. Do you still believe that the president can order the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens, without judicial scrutiny, now that the Supreme Court has rejected that position?
  6. The Department of Justice has issued a revised, more expansive definition of torture. But John Yoo, who helped write the repudiated memo, still defends the old definition. If you are confirmed as Attorney General, would you consider Mr. Yoo for a position in your department?
  7. Do you believe the March 2004 draft memo you requested – authorizing the CIA to transfer detainees to countries that may torture them – was in violation of international law?
  8. Would you recuse yourself from all Enron-related matters?
  9. Would you recuse yourself from all Halliburton-related matters?
  10. Were you aware of Bernard Kerik’s long-standing ties to Interstate Industrial, a New Jersey-based firm allegedly run by organized crime? If so, did you inform President Bush before Mr. Kerik was nominated? If not, how was the media able to uncover the connection hours after the nomination was announced?

Now that a number of high-ranking retired generals have publically come out against this nomination, there is much more pressure on the Senate to make sure this is not just a rubber stamp hearing. Here what retired General Hoar thinks needs to be aired in the hearing:

I think that the key thing, the thing we are asking the Senate Judiciary Committee, is to ask a series of questions of Mr. Gonzales during his confirmation hearings, that will fully illuminate Mr. Gonzales's role in the development of these policy papers, that had to do with the abrogation of Geneva Accords in the Afghan campaign, and the use of torture for detainees. And I think it's imperative that these issues be fully illuminated at the hearing. And this is what we hope will happen: Is that the Senate Judiciary Committee, which will recommend to the Senate as a whole, whether or not Mr. Gonzales should be confirmed as the Attorney General, really needs to bear down on these issues, and taking the documentary evidence that we have, and connect the dots, to find out what Mr. Gonzales's role has been in these very troubling issues.

And, we are doing nothing more than, as concerned citizens, asking the Senate Judiciary Committee to perform its duty, to make sure that we all have a better understanding of what Mr. Gonzales's role has been in the development of these policies.

Posted by Mary at January 4, 2005 10:06 PM | Law/Justice | TrackBack(1) | Technorati links |

If Gonzales' actions as legal counsel resulted in US use of excessive toruture in any circumstance whatsoever, he should not be confirmed. We would be condoning (and rewarding) his mindset.

I may link from my site to your excellent blog post on this.

Posted by: Deborah White at January 5, 2005 08:09 AM

Whether or not the Democrats stand up against Bush's policies and nominations in the next year will determine if I EVER vote for (and therefore respect) a democrat again! If they do not develop a backbone, the Democratic Party will prove to be obsolete and completely worthless.

Posted by: tabs at January 5, 2005 09:59 AM