Congress misses scale of Gonzales crimes

Viewpoint

HOUSTON — As congressional politicians are honed in on nailing U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, they are missing the most obvious crimes he committed. The U.S. Congress is bogged down over whether Houston attorney and Bush sycophant, Alberto Gonzales, was involved in the firing of nine U.S. attorneys and whether he pressured ailing former Attorney General John Ashcroft to sign an illegal presidential order authorizing unlimited wiretapping of U.S. citizens. Although these crimes are horrific, they don’t hold a candle to his previous crimes.

Gonzales has a long history of writing legal briefs that contradict international law. These briefs targeted international laws that interfered with the policies promoted by his benefactor, George W. Bush. Gonzales served as legal counsel to Gov. George Bush when he was governor of Texas.

Gonzales first attempted to circumvent international law by presenting the absurd argument that the state of Texas was not signatory to the Vienna Convention and asserted that Texas was not subject to this international treaty. This, of course, ignores the fact that Texas is not an independent nation and is a state of the United States and subject to its laws and treaties. On the basis of this argument, a Mexican national, Irineo Tristan Montoya, was executed without legal counsel and without access to Mexican authorities.

In fact, Gonzales has been instrumental in protecting “the Decider” from day one. During his confirmation hearings for the office of attorney general, it was disclosed that Gonzales maneuvered to excuse Bush from jury duty in Texas, which would have brought public attention to Bush’s 1976 arrest and conviction for drunken driving in Kennebunkport, Maine.

Scott Horton, a New York attorney and a lecturer in international humanitarian law at Columbia University, has written articles in the Los Angeles Times and elsewhere that Gonzales has been at the forefront of arguments that international treaties should be interpreted unilaterally.

In other words, the U.S. can hold other countries accountable when they break such treaties, but no other country should attempt to hold the U.S. accountable. The interests of the state trump international obligations in Gonzales’ interpretation of the law. This standpoint was one of the cornerstones of fascism and set the stage for the Nazis to justify their invasion and occupation of various countries.

Horton points out that there was dissention in the German elite during the time of Hitler. One German military attorney, Helmuth von Moltke, was a strong believer that international law could reduce the brutality of war and eventually end war. Horton notes that Moltke courageously opposed the brutal treatment of Soviet POWs in a memorandum that was “close to identical to the arguments that are made by Gen. Colin Powell in the letter that he sent to Alberto Gonzales.”

Horton notes that von Moltke was opposed by Nazi legal authorities, including Franz Schlegelberger, who argued, “Well, under our system, the Fuhrer was the source of all law and all authority.” He draws the parallel with the position of John Yoo, a Gonzales subordinate, who argues that President Bush has unlimited authority, is not beholden to international law or to congressional enactments.

Helmuth von Moltke was also opposed by notorious Gen. Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel, who openly displayed his contempt for the Geneva Conventions. Keitel attempted to justify the execution of Soviet political leaders on the basis that they were “terrorists,” which is a term we have been hearing a lot about recently. Prior to his execution at the Nuremberg trials, Keitel asserted that the Soviets were not a party to the Geneva Conventions and were not entitled to these protections.

As is well known, Attorney General Gonzales, while chief White House counsel, wrote a similar brief to President Bush asserting that the Geneva Conventions were “quaint” and “obsolete” and not applicable to the “war on terror.”

Many are asking, “Why does the U.S. Congress dither over the firing of a few attorneys when Attorney General Gonzales has a long history of attempting to circumvent international law which has resulted in the torture and death of prisoners by U.S. authorities?”

phill2 @houston.rr.com