The National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee has released their “Peace Tax Return” (PDF) that you can send in to the IRS along with your 1040 this year if you’re refusing to pay some of what you owe or if you’d just like to raise your voice in protest over what they’ve already collected.
The Washington Post weighs the evidence and renders its verdict:
According to the logic of the attorney general nominee, federal authorities could deprive American citizens of sleep, isolate them in cold cells while bombarding them with unpleasant noises and interrogate them 20 hours a day while the prisoners were naked and hooded, all without violating the Constitution. Senators who vote to ratify Mr. Gonzales’s nomination will bear the responsibility of ratifying such views as legitimate.
Gonzales has apparently been a little more frank in his written communication with the senators on the Judiciary Committee than he was during the hearings:
Officers of the Central Intelligence Agency and other nonmilitary personnel fall outside the bounds of a directive issued by President Bush that pledged the humane treatment of prisoners in American custody, Alberto R. Gonzales, the White House counsel, said in documents released on .
In written responses to questions posed by senators as part of his confirmation for attorney general, Mr. Gonzales also said a separate Congressional ban on cruel, unusual and inhumane treatment had “a limited reach” and did not apply in all cases to “aliens overseas.” That position has clear implications for prisoners held in American custody at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and in Iraq, legal analysts said.
Marty Lederman has the text of Gonzales’s written responses and some informed commentary on their implications at Balkinization.
The responses confirm what has been manifest for a while now: The Administration has concluded that the CIA, when it interrogates suspected Al Qaeda detainees overseas, may lawfully engage in “cruel, inhuman and degrading” treatment — i.e., treatment that would “shock the conscience,” and thus be unconstitutional, within the United States — as long as that treatment does not constitute “torture” under the very narrow meaning of that term in the federal criminal law.
It’s taken a whole lot of work by a whole lot of people to chisel away the Dubya Squad’s weasel words and get them to admit this much. On some occasions, they skipped the weasel words and went directly to flat-out lies, as when White House spokesman Ari Fleischer told the world that President Bush had directed that “Consistent with American values and the principles of the Geneva Convention, the United States has treated and will continue to treat all Taliban and Al Qaeda detainees in Guantánamo Bay humanely and consistent with the principles of the Geneva Convention.” Gonzales now admits that there was an unspoken “* does not apply to actions of the CIA or other agents of the U.S. outside of the armed services” footnote in that directive. Details, details.
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