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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Chevron's Prince of Darkness

Posted By on Wed, Dec 24, 2008 at 4:35 PM

By John Geluardi

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.

Chevron hired Haynes on as its chief corporate council in April, two months before the Senate Arms Services Committee (SASC) completed a bipartisan investigation that found Haynes' actions at the Department of Defense "deeply troubling."

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 reworking the legal 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).

Haynes used a diabolical method called "reverse engineering"

to compile his list of interrogation techniques, which have cast a shameful shadow

on our moral authority to prosecute the "War on Terror."

In December of 2001, the Harvard-educated Haynes had begun

to formulate his menu of misery by soliciting ideas from the Navy's Survival,

Evasion, Resistance and Escape School (SERE). The school's once noble function

was to train American military personnel to withstand illegal interrogation

techniques should they fall into the hands of a despicable enemy force, soulless

terrorist group or murderous criminal organization.

Haynes simply reverse engineered the enemy's

diabolical methods and adopted them for use at U.S. detention centers,

according to the

senate investigation report.


Haynes' "intel techniques" had the effect of a "virus" that

spread to numerous detention centers, according to the report. "Secretary

Rumsfeld's December 2, 2002

approval of Mr. Haynes' recommendations contributed to the use of abusive

techniques in Afghanistan

and Iraq," the

report reads.

The senate report goes on to say "the abuse at Abu Ghraib

was a potent recruiting tool for al Qaeda and handed al Qaeda a propaganda

weapon they could use to peddle their violent ideology."

And if compromising the integrity of the U.S. Military wasn't enough, Haynes demonstrated disdain for American soldiers by

sending memos to congress asking that enlisted military personnel

be barred from filing lawsuits in federal courts on issues of promotion,

re-enlistment and retirement, according to the Army Times. He also sought to strip military personnel of the right

to present courts marshal cases to the Supreme Court, according to the Los Angeles Daily Journal.


Haynes' discriminatory suggestions so incensed Republican

and Democrat representatives they sponsored the Equal Justice for Military

Personnel Act of 2007. The House of Representatives approved the act with a

strong bipartisan vote in September and Senate approval is still pending.

Haynes retreated from the excitement of devising

interrogation techniques to the stronghold of Chevron's headquarters in upscale San Ramon

with its neatly shorn lawns and pricey housing developments.

But that doesn't mean Haynes won't be in the thick of things.

After all, Chevron frequently finds itself in sticky legal situations which

require the services of a clever attorney who can find fuzzy legal

justification for causing harm to the powerless.

For example, there was that little misunderstanding in Nigeria

in 1998 where Chevron was alleged to have actively supported government

security forces that squashed a protest on a Chevron oil drilling platform in

the Niger Delta by killing two protestors and torturing another. Thanks to a

corps of high-paid attorneys like Haynes, a nine-member jury serving a U.S.

federal court found Chevron not liable for the incident earlier this year.


Then there's that ongoing mess in Ecuador

where Chevron, and other oil companies, have been accused of befouling the Oriente

Rain Forest with a vast legacy of

polluted water, poisoned air and cancer clusters.

And on the home front, there's always the beleaguered city

of Richmond where Chevron's

refinery pumped 60,819 tons of toxins into the air over

mostly impoverished neighborhoods in 2003, according to the Bay Area Air

Quality Management District.

So, at least, Haynes will have plenty to keep himself busy.

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John Geluardi


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