The Gonzales Legacy of Torture and Cruel Treatment of Detainees

While the scandal immediately preceding the departure of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales from the Justice Department centered on the firing of U.S. Attorneys, today’s papers spell out the misguided poicies of torture and cruel treatment Gonzales leaves as his legacy.

Here’s National Public Radio:

Out of that quiet counsel emerged the policy that enemy combatants could be held indefinitely without access to a lawyer, and the policy that detainees captured in Afghanistan were not entitled to the protections of the Geneva Conventions. Gonzales helped create the so-called “torture memo,” which allowed harsh interrogation tactics that some people considered torture.

“All of these policies were legally suspect at best, and certainly deeply damaging to U.S. interests, both as a matter of human rights and as a matter of national security,” says Princeton scholar Deborah Pearlstein, who was then director of the U.S. Law & Security Program at Human Rights First.

And more on the Gonzales legacy of torture and cruel treatment from:

L.A. Times

Boston Globe

Washington Post

New York Times.

And in commentary in the San Francisco Chronicle:

As early as January 2005, a dozen retired generals and admirals publicly opposed Gonzales’ nomination for the post of U.S. attorney general, declaring that “U.S. detention and interrogation operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Guantanamo Bay, and elsewhere … 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.”

Jordan Paust, a former member of the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General Corps, recently wrote that “not since the Nazi era have so many lawyers been so clearly involved in international crimes concerning the treatment and interrogation of persons detained during war.”


Published on August 28, 2007


Seeking asylum?

If you do not already have legal representation, cannot afford an attorney, and need help with a claim for asylum or other protection-based form of immigration status, we can help.