6.19.2009

Gonzales Memo Advised Bush How to Avoid War Crimes Charges

Jason Leopold has this stunning report about Alberto Gonzales, who as White House, advised George W. Bush what he needed to do in order to "substantially reduces the threat of domestic criminal prosecution under the War Crimes Act." In other words, how to skirt skirt Geneva Conventions in order to avoid war crimes charges. Think about that for a minute. They knew that what they were about to do was a war crime and actively thought out how they could avoid them with lawyery tricks of redefining wording in international laws which were specific and unambiguous.

Form Jason Leopold:

On Jan. 25, 2002, then-White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales advised George W. Bush in a memo to deny al-Qaeda and Taliban prisoners protections under the Geneva Conventions because doing so would "substantially reduces the threat of domestic criminal prosecution under the War Crimes Act" and "provide a solid defense to any future prosecution."

Two weeks later, Bush signed an action memorandum dated Feb. 7, 2002, addressed to Vice President Dick Cheney, which denied baseline protections to al-Qaeda and Taliban prisoners under the Third Geneva Convention. That memo, according to a recently released bipartisan report issued by the Senate Armed Services Committee, opened the door to "considering aggressive techniques," which were then developed with the complicity of then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Bush's National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, and other senior Bush officials.

"The President's order closed off application of Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, which would have afforded minimum standards for humane treatment, to al-Qaeda or Taliban detainees," says the committee's Dec. 11 report.

"While the President's order stated that, as 'a matter of policy, the United States Armed Forces shall continue to treat detainees humanely and, to the extent appropriate and consistent with military necessity, in a manner consistent with the principles of the Geneva Conventions,' the decision to replace well established military doctrine, i.e., legal compliance with the Geneva Conventions, with a policy subject to interpretation, impacted the treatment of detainees in U.S. custody."

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