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11/10/2004

It's Going to Get Worse Before it Gets Better

White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales is being named as John Ashcrofts successor as Attorney General. This should scare the hell out of you.

Gonzales was the author of the memo to President Bush that laid the groundwork for what happened at Abu Grahib. In the memo Gonzales told Bush that the war on terror, "in my judgment renders obsolete Geneva's strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners." The scary thing is, he seemed to know what he was advising was illegal or at least immoral, but he still stuck to his guns. The memo went on to mention some downsides to the policy, "widespread condemnation among our allies," and potentially undermining "U.S. military culture which emphasizes maintaining the highest standards of conduct."

Gonzales is a perfect fit for this administration in that he also believes that international laws are made for others, and not for us. While he was the legal counsel for then Gov. Bush in Texas, Gonzales presided over the execution of a Mexican national in direct violation of the
Vienna Convention which requires that the consulate of an arrested foreign national be contacted at the time of arrest. Texas, of course didn't do this. Gonzales offered this incredible defense, "Since the State of Texas is not a signatory to the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, we believe it is inappropriate to ask Texas to determine whether a breach occurred in connection with the arrest and conviction." Sure the United States signed the agreement and the last I checked Texas was a part of the United States, but I guess now whenever an international treaty is signed, the President and the Gov. of Texas both have to sign. Hey, if Texas in not part the the United States then lets take those electoral votes out of Bush's column and see who the new President is. After they illegally killed this man, who could not speak or understand English, Bush released this shocking statement, "Gov. Bush assures the people of Mexico that Mr. Tristan had [a] fair trial, ample opportunity to be heard and the full protections of the Constitution and laws of the United States of America." Sounds a little like Abu Masab al-Zarqawi telling the people of the United States that Nick Berg got a fair trial.

Oh it doesn't stop there. Two years after this incendent, Texas was back in the business of executing foreign nationals without first contacting their consulate. This time it was Canadian Joseph Faulder. Gonzales wrote an execution summary for Bush in which he acknowledged the violation of international law, but concluded it was simply a "harmless error". Faulder was later killed by Bush.

Oh and don't forget this, Gonzales also has Hilliburton ties. Here is a cute little
story. "In 1999, a Halliburton employee had won a $2.6 million trial verdict due to allegations that a company supervisor framed him to test positive for cocaine, only to see the verdict overturned by a Texas Court of Appeals. Just before the Texas Supreme Court ruled on the case, Halliburton gave a number of contributions to the Justices, including $3000 to Alberto Gonzales. None of the Justices recused themselves from the case and the Court refused to hear the appeal against Halliburton."

Oh then there is the fact that before Gonzales was appointed to the Texas Supreme Court, he was a partner at the "Vinson & Elkins, L.L.P. in Houston which had Halliburton as a major client. And Gonzales worked in the section where Halliburton was represented where he had a strong relationship with the firm."

During the time Gonzales was on the Texas Supreme Court, Halliburton and it's subsidiaries contributed nearly $80,000 to Supreme Court Justices re-election campaigns, ranking Halliburton 2nd among all contributors to Supreme Court campaigns. Amazingly enough, during those years Halliburton had five cases come before the court and in every instance they either refused to hear the case or ruled in Halliburtons favor. I'm sure it was just a coincidence though.

Gonzales also did a favor for Bush in 1996 when he got him
out of jury duty. If Bush had not gotten out of jury duty he would have had to disclose his 1976 conviction for drunken driving in Maine. Gonzales reason for excusing Bush was novel, he said that if Bush served on a jury, then later as Governor he wouldn't be able to pardon him. Yeah right, Bush pardoned people as often as he uses his veto power.

I guess we should be thankful, before today Gonzales had been mentioned as a Supreme Court nominee. This way we only have to survive him for four years instead of 40.

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