Wednesday, January 05, 2005

TEN here

Ten Questions for Alberto Gonzales

1. Are there any circumstances under which you believe the President of the United States could legally authorize torture?

Alberto Gonzales approved a now-infamous memo which contended the president "wasn't bound by laws prohibiting torture and that government agents who might torture prisoners at his direction couldn't be prosecuted by the Justice Department." Despite the fact that the United States ratified the United Nations Convention Against Torture - which states "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 of torture" - the memo stated the president had the authority "to approve almost any physical or psychological action during interrogation, up to and including torture." Once the memo was made public, Gonzales backtracked, saying the memo contained "unnecessary, over-broad discussions" about "abstract legal theories." He also said the policy was "under review, and may be replaced, if appropriate, with more concrete guidance addressing only those issues necessary for the legal analysis of actual practices." The Justice Department recently released a new memo redefining the U.S. stance on torture. The new policy, however, does not address the question of whether the president is entitled to disregard laws and treaties.


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