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Peace Action
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JANUARY 27, 2005
11:39 AM
CONTACT: Peace Action 
Scott Lynch, Communications Director 301.565.4050 x 330
mobile 703.725.5680
 
Peace Action calls on Senators to vote against torture and Gonzales
 
SILVER SPRING MD -- January 27 -- Peace Action, the country’s largest peace organization with over 100,000 members nationwide, today expressed regret at the Senate Judiciary Committee’s vote in favor of Alberto Gonzales to be the next U.S. Attorney General, and urged the full Senate to reject Gonzales. Peace Action is one of the leading organizations in working to end the war in Iraq, and recently ran television ads, in conjunction with MoveOn.org, against the Gonzales nomination in California, Wisconsin, New York and Pennsylvania.

In Gonzales’ capacity as White House Counsel, he and his staff authored a series of infamous memos concerning torture. Among other things, Gonzales contended that the Geneva Convention was “obsolete” and that physical pain caused by injury that was short of producing organ failure or death was not necessarily torture. The memos that came from Gonzales’ office on the topic of detainee interrogation are considered to be the legal cover that the Bush administration is using as justification for its torture policy. A report from Human Rights Watch this week indicated the U.S. is still torturing prisoners in Iraq. The vote in the Judiciary Committee split along party lines 10-8.

“Peace Action calls on all Senators on the Judiciary Committee who voted for Alberto Gonzales to rethink their reasoning and vote “no” when his nomination comes before the full Senate. All of the Republican senators on the Judiciary Committee gave their approval to Alberto Gonzales and in doing so gave their specific approval to the Bush administration’s torture policy. Adherence to party discipline has caused these senators to sully their own names and the good name of the U.S. Senate in the worst way possible. They let towing the party line trump decency and their obligation to the American people,” said Kevin Martin

“In a recent piece, my friend Jonathan Schell described the choice before the Senate this way, ‘Torture destroys the soul of the torturer even as it destroys the body of his victim. The boundary between humane treatment of prisoners and torture is perhaps the clearest boundary in existence between civilization and barbarism. Whether the elected representatives of the people of the United States are now ready to cross that line is the deepest question before the Senate as it votes on the nomination of Alberto Gonzales.’ Americans whose Senators supported torture and barbarism should voice their outrage to their senators. In addition, right thinking Republican Senators should be outraged at the Republican Party and the President for asking that party loyalty to include supporting torture,” continued Martin.

The Senators on the Judiciary Committee who voted for Gonzales and torture include: Arlen Specter (PA), Orrin G. Hatch (UT), Charles E. Grassley (IA), Jon Kyl (AZ), Mike DeWine (OH), Jeff Sessions (AL), Lindsey Graham (SC), John Cornyn (TX), Sam Brownback (KN), and Tom Coburn (OK).

“Although the Senate voted 98 to 2 last fall to prohibit U.S. intelligence officers from torturing detainees as part of a bill overhauling national intelligence, the White House—to its eternal shame—persuaded Senate and House conferees to strip the language from the bill. Senators must now go on record again against torture by voting against Alberto Gonzales, the architect of the Bush torture policy. The administration has willingly chosen to plunge our country into the moral filth that is state-sanctioned torture. That filth will not wash off easily. However, by voting against the man who concocted the pseudo-legal arguments that led to the torture and murder in Afghanistan, Abu Ghraib, and Guantanamo Bay, senators can take a step toward ridding our country of the stench of torture,” concluded Martin.

Peace Action (the merger of Sane and The Nuclear Freeze), is the United States' largest peace and disarmament organization. www.peace-action.org

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