The current torture case began in the spring of 2004, when photographs of abused prisoners at Abu Ghraib surfaced. Sands said that he read the protestations of innocence from Bush Administration officials, who blamed a few “bad apples” for the incidents, with the eye of a barrister.
Last week, Sands’s accusations suddenly did not seem so outlandish. A Spanish court took the first steps toward starting a criminal investigation of the same six former Bush Administration officials he had named, weighing charges that they had enabled and abetted torture…
I’ve recounted before how everyone from the US Senate to the New York Times to Spanish prosecutors wonder whether Haynes, one of the so-called “Bush Six,” should be tried for war crimes.
In the latest issue of the New Yorker, Phillipe Sands has little good to say about him. Sands is not someone to ignore on this issue. He’s a British law professor, certified Queen’s Counsel, and author of Torture Team, “a scathing critique” that accuses Haynes and other Bush admnistration officials in complicity in acts of torture.
Sands also helped pursue charges against former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet for “for violations of international law,” according to Jane Mayer, the author of the New Yorker article, “The Bush Six,” as well as of the book The Dark Side, an examination of the Bush administration’s approval of torture in its war on terror. Mayer says the case against Pinochet “became a turning point in international law, establishing the principle that there is no immunity even for the highest-ranking former government officials when they are accused of torture.”
Among other things, Sands calls Haynes, the general counsel for Donald Rumsfeld in the Defense Department and whom he interviewed for his book, “manifestly untruthful.” According to one review of Sands’ book, by an Australian journalist, Haynes stands at the “apex of responsibility,” because, according to Sands, “he continuously ignored the warning signals that something was very wrong. … Haynes seemed to spend little time considering the impact of his memo on US policy, its international standing, or, indeed, his own culpability before a court of law.”
In addition to Haynes, other Bush administration officials facing international scrutiny are: UC Berkeley law professor John Yoo, a senior Justice Department legal adviser; Jay Bybee, another senior Justice Department legal adviser; Alberto Gonzales, a former White House counsel and attorney general; David Addington, former vice-president Dick Cheney’s chief of staff; and Douglas Feith, who was under-secretary of defence.
Jane Mayer writes:
The British Guardian newspaper says that, according to court documents, “without their legal advice in a series of internal administration memos, “it would have been impossible to structure a legal framework that supported what happened [in Guantánamo]”.
To Mayer, Sands reiterated a warning that he made in his book. “If I were they,” he said, referring to Haynes and the five other former Bush administration officials, “I would think carefully before setting foot outside the United States. They are now, and forever in the future, at risk of arrest. Until this is sorted out, they are in their own legal black hole.”