Monday, March 16, 2009

Chickens. Home. Roost.

It appears that William Haynes is probably getting familiar with those words – since it was announced today that the National Lawyers Guild San Francisco Bay Chapter (NLGSF) filed a complaint with the California State Bar against former Department of Defense General Counsel William Haynes. The complaint against Haynes, who now works for the Chevron Corporation in San Ramon, states that he "breached his duty as a lawyer and advocated for harsh tactics amounting to torture in violation of U.S. and international law … advocacy that directly lead to detainee abuses at the Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib facilities." The complaint seeks to have Haynes held accountable for advising his clients (the Department of Defense) to take unlawful actions by engaging in torture by having his status as a "Registered In House Counsel" revoked – costing him his job as Chevron's deputy in-house counsel. And this is just the first wave – there is a real chance that Haynes will be called before Senator Patrick Leahy's burgeoning "Truth Commission," which could be America's very own Nuremberg trial to deal with the aftermath of the Bush wars.

This is hugely embarrassing for everyone at Chevron – but particularly for Charles James, Haynes' Bush-administration buddy who is Chevron's general counsel. James was the guy who hired Haynes when Haynes was radioactive after leaving the DoD under a cloud because of his torture connections. James made (another!) horrible judgment call in hiring Haynes, a potential war criminal, just as Chevron was facing a rising tide of human rights problems (Nigeria, Ecuador, Burma, now Cambodia) around the world. And like so many of James' other recent calls, this one is leaving him with egg on his face. It's pretty easy to imagine that the P.R. department over at Chevron is pretty pissed at James right about now for dragging their company into the same sentence as "torture" and "war criminal."