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Wednesday, March 09, 2005

NCLR Embraces Torture Supporter A.G.

from washington post.
big Eww.

what does this state about the state of the big civil rights organizations?
If you're a member of NCLR, will you think of withdrawing your membership?

Hispanic Group Puts Weight Behind Gonzales

By Darryl Fears

The National Council of La Raza, the nation's largest Hispanic civil rights organization, embraced Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales at an awards ceremony last night, breaking with other civil rights organizations that have denounced Gonzales for his role in producing the administration memo that allowed harsh treatment of detainees overseas.

Although La Raza supported Gonzales's appointment as attorney general, last night's ceremony marked a first, highly public step in the group's effort to alter its image as a left-leaning organization, said Janet Murguia, its president and chief executive.

Gonzales's appearance at the ceremony was his first before a large Hispanic civil rights group since he was confirmed last month by the Senate. La Raza hopes the warm reception will show the Bush administration that it seeks to move to the center politically and gain more access to the White House. President Bush declined to attend all of La Raza's annual conferences during his first term, citing the group's criticism of his policies.

"We want to make sure that people understand that we are reaching out to this administration," Murguia said. "We think it is a unique opportunity when a president is in his second term . . . to get things done.

"I know there are some folks who've said maybe NCLR is leaning left in the past or choosing sides," said Murguia, who served as deputy director for legislative affairs for the Clinton White House and as a liaison between the Gore-Lieberman presidential campaign and constituent groups in 2000. "I want to make a clear point: We are reaching out to all sides, we're going to build coalitions, build bridges and put our people first."

La Raza is not the only Hispanic civil rights organization employing that strategy. Another leading Hispanic rights organization, the League of United Latin American Citizens, strongly supports Gonzales.

Last night's ceremony also highlighted the group's split with Latino organizations that are unhappy with Gonzales. Eugenio Arene, executive director of the Council of Latino Agencies, a Washington-based organization that represents Salvadorans, Nicaraguans and Guatemalans, and is affiliated with La Raza, said the move ignored the plight of Central Americans.

"Many of us came from Central America because of political violence and torture," he said. "We are really concerned about a Latino organization . . . taking a position to support someone with what I call manos manchados, his hands are stained. He's not clean."

Gonzales has testified that as White House counsel he disagreed with portions of a 2002 Justice Department memo that narrowly defined what constituted torture, but could not recall whether he conveyed those objections to other government lawyers at the time. He said he did not quarrel with its general findings. The memo -- which was used to formulate permissive government rules on interrogations -- was repudiated by the Justice Department after it was revealed publicly in 2004 and has since been rewritten, reaching much different conclusions.


At 12:23 PM, Blogger John said...

hmm gross


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