Thursday, April 03, 2008

David S. Addington - The man in the torture shadows

Last June, I posted Who is "the most powerful person you've never heard of"? and Cheney's Cheney about David S. Addington, Vice-President Cheney’s chief of staff and former counsel.

As I continue to read the most recent crop of articles about the recently released torture memos, the number one member of the “torture team” appears to me to be David S. Addington.

In the May issue of Vanity Fair, "The Green Light" by Philippe Sands is a must-read if you want to understand the cast of high-level official characters responsible for our country’s use of torture.

There are numerous references to Addington in Sands’s article, including:

1. The authors of the torture memos “were assisted in the drafting by David Addington….”;

2. “The fingerprints of the most senior lawyers in the administration were all over the design and implementation of the abusive interrogation policies. Addington, Bybee, Gonzales, Haynes, and Yoo became, in effect, a torture team of lawyers, freeing the administration from the constraints of all international rules prohibiting abuse.

3. “…Addington, Haynes, and Gonzales all objected to Geneva.”

4. “This memo [referring to one of the torture memos] is believed to have been written by Addington, presented a ‘new paradigm’ and described Geneva’s ‘strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners’ as ‘obsolete.’ ”

For me, the most significant piece in Sand’s article is this: “ On September 25, [2002] as the process of elaborating new interrogation techniques reached a critical point, a delegation of the administration’s most senior lawyers arrived at Guantánamo. The group included the president’s lawyer, Alberto Gonzales, who had by then received the Yoo-Bybee Memo; Vice President Cheney’s lawyer, David Addington, who had contributed to the writing of that memo….. They were all well aware of al-Qahtani [the tortured detainee described in the article]. ‘They wanted to know what we were doing to get to this guy,’ …‘ and Addington was interested in how we were managing it.’….

“Beaver [a military lawyer present at Guantanamo when the torture team appeared] confirmed the account of the visit. Addington talked a great deal, and it was obvious to her that he was a ‘very powerful man’ and ‘definitely the guy in charge,’ with a booming voice and confident style.” [emphasis mine]

I’m a lawyer. I’m wondering when Addington will be disbarred. And will he be susceptible to charges of war crimes if he travels to another country that believes in upholding the Geneva Conventions?

(photo of Addington: Associated Press)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Amy Goodman interviewed Philipe Sands, author of the Torture Team, this morning.

He said he was asked by a European prosecutor for the documents Sands obtained in the course of his research.

Sands also stated that giving themselves immunity might work in the US but will actually make it easier to prosecute them elsewhere.

He quoted Douglas Feith as saying that the whole approach to torture was not thought through . . . (and they would not listen to Powell who was very concerned about the fact that Americans would be tortured and the US would lack a basis for opposing such treatment -- my comment)