WASHINGTON - August 27 - Today, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) welcomed the resignation of Alberto Gonzales as Attorney General of the United States and now calls upon Congress to investigate his role in the Bush administration's abuse of Executive authority:
"The Center for Constitutional Rights welcomes the news of Alberto Gonzales's resignation. Gonzales was instrumental in paving the way for the abuse and atrocities at Abu Ghraib. Additionally, his tenure as White House Legal Counsel and then as Attorney General was marked by naked hostility to civil liberties and an alarming disregard for the U.S. Constitution and international law, including:
• His involvement in the November 13, 2001 military order on detentions which led to Guantánamo;
• His development of policies designed to circumvent domestic and international law regarding the use of torture and inhumane treatment;
• His support for the widely criticized system of military tribunals;
• His disregard of the Geneva Conventions; and
• His vital role in the creation and maintenance of the NSA warrantless wiretapping program.
When Alberto Gonzales was nominated for the post of Attorney General of the United States in January of 2005, the Center for Constitutional Rights issued a statement calling the nomination "a travesty" and mounted a campaign to block his confirmation.
At the time of his nomination, CCR charged that Mr. Gonzales knowingly and willingly provided counsel and advocated policies that were calculated to evade domestic and international laws that prohibit torture. In particular, as White House Counsel, Gonzales was responsible for legal briefs that justified the use of torture, which led directly to the torture and abuse at Abu Ghraib and other U.S. facilities. He gained notoriety by calling the Geneva Conventions "quaint," and he never backed down from his position - even after it was repudiated by the courts. As Attorney General, Gonzales continually strove to undermine our civil liberties and turned the Justice Department into a political arm of the President, most notably when he dismissed eight United States Attorneys for partisan political reasons.
Yet his resignation, while welcome and long-coming, is only the beginning. Until the entire cabal that has engaged in torture, the creation of off-shore prisons such as Guantánamo, violations of the Geneva Conventions, and warrantless wiretapping of Americans is held accountable, there is little to celebrate in Gonzales's resignation. Guantánamo continues, as do torture, wiretapping, secret CIA sites, rendition, and illegal trials. Impeachment and prosecution of the authors and facilitators of these violations of fundamental rights is imperative, and our Democratic Congress has fallen down on the job. We call on Congress to investigate Gonzales and the role he played in expanding Executive power and in destroying long-cherished liberties and basic democratic principles. Most important, the United States must close Guantánamo and all other off-shore detention sites, stop torturing detainees, and end the practice of extraordinary rendition. Congress can and should do all of these things-but so far, it has been silent."
The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) is a non-profit legal
and educational organization dedicated to protecting and advancing
the rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil
rights demonstrators in the South, CCR is committed to the creative
use of law as a positive force for social change."