War Criminals Watch (2): William J. Haynes II

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William J. Haynes: What Was Chevron Thinking?

Posted by Chevron Pit
Wednesday, December 31, 2008

John Geluardi - author of The Snitch blog over at SF Weekly - put out a post last week about William Haynes, calling him "Chevron's Prince of Darkness". Apparently Haynes - who was recently hired by Chevron to serve as their chief corporate counsel - was just called out in a Senate Arms Services Committee (SASC) bipartisan investigation that found Haynes' actions while working for the Pentagon reviewing and approving of torture "deeply disturbing". Geluardi describes the hiring:

The Chevron Corporation has exposed its pestilent underbelly by hiring William J. Haynes II, a Department of Defense attorney who compiled lists of violent interrogation techniques for shadowy U.S. detention centers... In 2002 Haynes recommended a menu of 15 dehumanizing interrogation techniques to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld that included stress positions, removal of clothing, light deprivation and exploitation of phobias such as the "Arab fear of dogs." Rumsfeld eagerly signed off on Haynes' recommendations and dispatched a memo to Guantanamo  Bay and other detention centers so they could be used on "enemy combatants," according to the senate investigative report.
The brass of nearly every branch of the U.S. Military vigorously opposed Haynes' ghoulish techniques. The opposition was so great, the list in part spurred Bush Administration lawyers to justify certain techniques by redefining the definition of torture so the CIA would be free to use nasty little methods such as waterboarding, a technique that simulates drowning. The method was invented by the syphilitic fiends who conceived the Spanish Inquisition (waterboarding was not on Haynes' list).

And it's not just Geluardi. Andrew S. Ross of the San Francisco Chronicle covered the story, in an article entitled "Report rips ex-Defense counsel, now at Chevron". Ross noted that the bipartisan report was signed by prominent Senators from both parties (including John McCain) and that when asked, Haynes defended his recommendations regarding torture. Editorials were run by the New York Times and the Miami Herald calling Haynes' advocacy of torture "deeply harmful" to the U.S.' image and urging that Haynes and the others who authorized the torture to be held accountable.

And all of this leads to the inevitable question: given all of Chevron's human rights problems around the world, why in the world would they hire William Haynes when he was so radioactive? For a company embarking in a multi-million dollar "human energy" public relations campaign, you would think they would have more sense than to hire one of the only lawyers in America who is under potential threat of facing charges as a war criminal.

But maybe they just don't care - or maybe they even see Haynes' willingness to advocate torturing prisoners as a plus. As Dugan over at Oil Watchdog stated, "with Chevron embroiled in human-rights lawsuits over oilfield pollution in Ecuador, and facing possible appeal of its exoneration in a Nigerian shooting case, Haynes (who walked straight into Chevron after leaving government in February), seems suited to the job."

Still, it seems unbelievable that Chevron really went out and paid big money to hire a guy under investigation by the Senate for human rights violations. After all, there had to be hundreds of highly competent corporate counsels around who wouldn't be putting "advocated and designed torture" as their "previous experience".

So what was Chevron thinking? Was it just that Darth Vader was unavailable?


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