The Attorney General that Condones Torture?

3 Nov

It is shocking that Michael Mukasey, Bush’s appointed attorney General, has told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday that he did not know if the interrogation technique of “waterboarding” similar to the act of drowning, is illegal.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a press statement, dated October 18, in which the appointee has suggested that “unlawful combatants” in US custody are not entitled to the humane treatment protections of the Geneva Conventions.

According to HRW, the US military court considered waterboarding as torture for more than a hundred years, dated as early to the Spanish-American War. The State Department has also consistently condemned other countries for waterboarding.

The human rights organization has also demanded that the new attorney general, if appointed, must investigate the case of previous Attorney General Alberto Gonzales for approving two new leaked memos. The first memo “provided explicit authorization to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to subject detained terrorist suspects to a combination of abusive interrogation methods.” The other memo argued that “the president was not bound by federal laws prohibiting torture, and that the Department of Justice lacked authority to enforce anti-torture laws against those acting with the president’s authorization.”

According to AP report, “Bush: No attorney general if not Mukasey” dated 2 November, the vote on Tuesday, to be decided by a 19 member committee, has so far seen 4 out of 10 Democrats publicly announcing their decision to vote against Mukasey. Assuming that the other 9 republicans in the committee will vote for him, his appointment will hence hinge one only one vote from the Democrats, who may or may not side with the President.

George Bush has also vigourously defended his position to appoint Mukasey saying that, “He (Mukasey) doesn’t know whether we use that technique or not,” and that “It doesn’t make any sense to tell an enemy what we’re doing.” He also said America needs an attorney general for the war on terrrorism.

When he was asked if waterboarding constitutes torture, he dodged the question by saying “I’m not going to talk about techniques. There’s an enemy out there.”

The Bush Administration has committed human rights violations by estabilishing CIA secret rendition programs, Guantanamo Bay facilities, illegal wiretapping amongst other atrocities.

It will be a sad state of affairs if Michael Mukasey is appointed as the next attorney general considering his ambiguous position towards torture and interrogation techniques. The committee has to vote unanimously against this candidate who condones torture.


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