Monday, August 4, 2008

Addington's Assault on America

Americans have yet to comprehend the devastating impact of its legal strategies in the War on Terror that has defaced the country's image in the global community, and has tarnished the nation's soul. The "New Paradigm" made a mockery of the Constitution and disregarded ideals consistent with American values which the country once so proudly proclaimed, and nearly succeeded in overturning 200 years of jurisprudence that defined the limits of the President's powers - by making war a substance of dictatorial prerogative. The chief architect of this abomination is David Addington.

The New Paradigm was structured from an interpretation of the Constitution that would compel America's founding fathers to commit harakiri. It provides that the President, as Commander-in-Chief, has the authority to violate the Civil Liberties of its citizens, trash International Laws, and contravene the Geneva Convention on the Treatment of Prisoners of War if national security so requires. All known legal boundaries are eliminated, and illegal surveillance, torture, secret and prolonged detention shall be used to allow the Pentagon to contain terrorists, preempt and prevent future attacks. It devised a system of detention and interrogation called "rendition" that placed suspects outside of the US and beyond the reach of Criminal and Military courts, whose stringent standards on evidence and protecting defendants rights were seen as too complex. Instead, Military Commissions were created and the suspects were not designated as prisoners of war but as illegal enemy combatants - a legal euphemism to go around the established standards of the Geneva Conventions on treatment of prisoners.

David Addington is Vice-President Dick Cheney's General Counsel, and their partnership dates back to the late 80's and early 90's. Both share the belief that the Presidency was weakened by the reform movements after Vietnam and Watergate, and that the Office of the President was meant to be very powerful. When Cheney became Vice-President, Addington masterminded the transition of setting up the most powerful Vice-Presidency in American History. He merged the office of the President with Cheney's into a single Executive Office under the rationale' that the Vice-President is the executive and implementer of the President. Cheney thus became the de facto President of the less than intellectual lightweight George W. Bush, whose eloquence and use of the english language is slightly below the level of porky pig.

Addington is a summa cum laude Foreign Service graduate of Georgetown University who also earned honors at Duke Law School. After 9/11 he was the only lawyer in the Bush Administration's inner circle who was ready and prepared to provide legal certainty at a time of momemtous political and legal confusion. This gave him enormous power and influence in crafting the paradigm that sunk America's respectability and credibility as a just and humane society.

Despite his legal brilliance and mastery of National Security laws, Addington's creations manifest ignorance of military law or the laws of war. Military Commissions can try only violations of the Laws of War, and conspiracy to commit terrorist acts is not a crime under these laws as established by the Nuremberg trials after World War ll. Otherwise, all soldiers can be charged with conspiring to fight for their chosen side. In addition, his model has failed to produce results. Of the 700 detainees at Guantanamo, only 8% are alleged to have associated with Al Qaida, 55% never engaged in any hostile act against the US, and the rest were charged with spurious crimes like fleeing from US bombs. All but 5% were captured by non-US players, many of whom were bounty hunters.

Addington is a reclusive operator unknown to most US voters. But his arrogance, expressed in legal machinations that defy congressional oversight, public accountability, and a predilection for what is legally plausible rather than what is morally upright - even if it is a convoluted method of proving his philosophy of Presidential power. He has become so obsessed with this philosophy to the point of madness, that he would destroy all notions of America's fairness and proceed to construct rules with a vested interest in conviction. He frequently cites Lincoln's suspension of the writ of Habeas Corpus during the civil war, which Lincoln never claimed an inherent right; as justification for placing National Security above the rule of law. In this, he has turned a historical aberration into a dogma of Presidential prerogative.

David Addington has assaulted America's honor among the community of nations which has damaged the country's reputation beyond what any other US President has done. But it is the face of George W. Bush that will be dragged to the slime and the mud for this atrocity; and it will be the American people who will carry the burden of this shame. The only real restitution that can be obtained for this crime is to make him a stateless person with sanctions on any country that would grant him asylum. Then we will witness what justice will be unleashed by the forces the New Paradigm sought to demolish, to this dog of war.


Sources: Jane Mayer, The Hidden Power
The Legal Mind Behind the White House War on Terror
The New Yorker

Jeffrey Steinberg, Cheney's Lawyer Addington Penned Key Torture Memo
Executive Intelligence Review

Bob Herbert, Madness and Shame
New York Times


Anonymous said...

A thorough and interesting read, if depressing in content. This is the sort of thing that renews my desire to get into the legal profession, and maybe, someday, make my microscopic contribution to undoing some of the damage described here.

EuroYank said...

Congratulations on a very well written and overdue post. Well said. We have much in common!

Jena Isle said...

You express yourself well and your topics are complex. Way to go Durano. Keep posting in absentia? (lol).

The BoBo said...

Hi Durano,

Before you go on such rants, you should check case law..there is already a precedence set back in 1942 that gives the President authority to convene military tribunals and to strip away habeas corpus rights of those who fight against the U.S. Read this carefully, you will see some very striking similarities between those military prisoners in 1942 and those held at Gitmo. The June decision was wrong and should have upheld the original 1942 decision.

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi r,

You should get into the legal profession. You certainly have the skills in expressing your thoughts logically and in an organized manner, plus the added advantage of eloquence in the choice of words you use - having a background in literature.

Regardless of how minute the contribution is, as long as it will undo some of the damage created, it would have real value in establishing a just and humane society. :-) --Durano, done!

August 8, 2008 8:53 AM

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi Euroyank,

Thanks for the kind words. I've visited your site and I was amazed at the wealth of evidence you have! I wondered where you source these things the minute I scrolled the entire page. I couldn't find where to post a comment though. I have very little time on my hands where I am but I will get around to making a thorough visit.

I agree with your statement, we do have a lot in common, a part of which I read in your profile statement. Thanks for the comment and the visit. :-) --Durano, done!

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi JenaIsle,

Thanks for the compliment. People are complex beings, that's why perhaps they complicate the world around them and seek complicated solutions. LOL!

Yes, I am posting not really in absentia but via delayed telecast. :-)I am also sending several posts with specific dates for publication. To make things easier, I asked Carol to look at all the comments and send them over to me, so that I wouldn't have to spend time opening my site and just send my replies to her for encoding. I just take the fastest route of opening as many sites as I can to view the posts and then write my comments on CD after. :-)

Thanks for your support and do write more chapters to your story. As to your query on short stories, that possibility may happen at a later date. I'll also have to check out a birthday celebrant to give the ECs to - you stubborn storyteller :-). Take care. :-) --Durano, done!

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi Bobo,

The case law you refer to, an ex parte Quirin that stemmed from an arcane case in which Franklin Roosevelt created a military commission to try 8 Nazis who infiltrated the US via submarines. Roosevelt was later criticized for creating a sham process.

Also, while Roosevelt used military commissions to try a handful of suspects who had already admitted their guilt,the Bush White House proposed expanding the process to cover thousands of "enemy combatants". It was also ignoring the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which, having codified procedures for courts-martial in 1951, had rendered the Quirin out of date.

Furthermore, here's a segment of the International Criminal Justice Journal about the methods employed by the Bush White House and its innovator, David Addington:

"Although criticism of US-led detention at Guantánamo Bay has been extensive, little attention has been placed on evaluating the implications of international humanitarian law standards as applied in international criminal law. There is a striking resemblance between allegations made of Guantánamo and many of the scenarios that have given rise to individual criminal responsibility for unlawful confinement as a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions in other contexts. In this regard, arguments that individuals who do not enjoy prisoner-of-war status fall into a legal vacuum or that international humanitarian law has somehow been rendered obsolete by the ‘War on Terror’ ignore the fact that international criminal precedents unambiguously disagree. If nothing else, an analysis of international criminal law's treatment of unlawful confinement highlights the urgent need to rethink the legal basis for detention at Guantánamo and the risks of individual criminal responsibility for purporting to develop international humanitarian law through unilateral changes in policy rather than formal international law-making processes".

I hope these clears things up bobo. :-) --Durano, done!

upyours said...

One interesting thing about case law is that they are never permanent; depending on the prevailing wisdom of the Supreme Court, legal precedents can either be affirmed or reversed anytime.

Another point is that the law does not vest any right or power that is absolute or unconditional. Always, there is a mechanism to prevent excess and abuse.

Below is a direct quote from an analysis written by Richard L. Cys and Andrew Mar from the law firm of Davis, Wrighr, Tremaine:

"Quirin does not necessarily support President Bush's Military Order because the case is distinguishable in several ways. First, Quirin involved the trial of individuals who entered the country illegally. Second, the court upheld the rights of the accused to judicial review. Third, citing Milligan, the Supreme Court noted Congress formally had declared war and expressly authorized military trials for acts "against the law of war." In the current campaign against terrorism, Congress has not declared war, calling into question the President's authority to create military tribunals. Any authority the President has with regard to military powers is generally shared with the legislative branch. Congress, not the President, is empowered by the Constitution, Article I, Section 8, "[t]o make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval forces." The Military Order is not limited to individuals accused of entering the United States as spies or terrorists, and it provides no right to judicial review."

Zhu said...

"Before you go on such rants, you should check case law..there is already a precedence set back in 1942 that gives the President authority to convene military tribunals and to strip away habeas corpus rights of those who fight against the U.S."

I was reading this comment and I had no idea there were a precedence.

That said, things are equally scary.

The BoBo said...

Thanks Durano and Upyours (that's funny) for providing some additional detail.

Regarding your comment on the UCMJ - having grown up in the Army and then served in the Air Force myself, I can confirm for you that the UCMJ rules and procedures for court martial do not apply to enemy or foreign combatants - it only applies to American military service members. A military tribunal is significantly different than a court martial.

The legal briefs you both cited are personal legal opinions, but are not judicial opinion.

Apparently, Congress ceded their authority under Article 1, Section 8 to the President otherwise they most certainly would have taken control if things really were as is stated in that opinion.

Given the fact that the Dem controlled Congress has done nothing to stop the proceedings at Gitmo - I would say there is something more to this that we don't know about.

As always, Durano - great post and discussion! I agree with your other commentor up do a most excellent job of opining on complex issues in a very concise manner.

EuroYank said...

Only the USA is able to commit war crimes as stated at Nuremburg, and then avoid being dragged into the international war crimes court BY PULLING OUT and scrapping the treaty. And only the USA can state to the world that no American soldier can be prosecuted for war crimes BY ANY COURT. This is a topic you should expose in detail. Anyway judging from some replies here, this shows how BRAINWASHED most Americans are.

EuroYank said...

Durano - I suggest you go to my ARCHIVE BLOG at EuroYank Top Posts Under each picture is link to each top post, and the left sidebar includes links of my top posts grouped by category. Years of work and the archive blog makes it easy to find what interests you.

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi Upyours,

Thanks for the additional support information. The first paragraph of your reaction verifies my contention that the case law cited has been rendered obsolete.

Thanks. :-) --Durano, done!

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi Zhu,

Things are really scary Zhu, either way.

The succeeding response by Euroyank makes the picture totally biased and slanted in favor of the USA. It's true, no American has ever been tried for war crimes; not for the Philippine American War, Vietnam War, and now the War on Terror. They have always been exempted.

I am hopeful though that this will change soon, and a more rational assessment as well as balanced application of International Laws will be set in place.

Thanks for dropping by. :-) --Durano, done!

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi Bobo,

We have cited legal opinions true but the Supreme Court has ruled against Gitmo too.

I do not know if the Democrat led Congress has ceded its authority to the President or if they are momentarily stupefied - if not stupid. :-)

You're right, there must be something being dealt that the public is not yet privy to.

Thanks for your contributions Bobo, and the kind words. :-) --Durano, done!

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi Euroyank,

Thanks for inviting me to your rich archive, your contributions to this discussion, and your valued comments.

I will do as you suggest. Watch your back at all times. :-) --Durano, done!

The BoBo said...

Hi Durano,

Just one last comment on this topic - while the supreme court did indeed rule against Gitmo - the military tribunals are still allowed to proceed as long as those on trial are given the opportunity to appeal after sentencing. So..nothing really changed with the Supreme Court ruling at all.

EuroYank just sounds like a bitter ex-pat.

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi Bobo,

When you say the Supreme Court ruling changed nothing, you mean it sanctions the death penalty be imposed even if there was a split verdict; defendants would have only limited rights to confront their accusers, see all the evidence against them, or be present during their trials? There would be no right to remain silent, and hearsay evidence would be admissible, as would evidence obtained through physical coercion and torture? Guilt need not be proved beyond a reasonable doubt? All these were the mandate of those Military Commissions.

Is this the American type of justice and human rights nowadays? It sounds like Russia during the time of Stalin. Is this acceptable to Americans who are so proud of their democratic ideals?

I certainly hope not. Heaven forbid! :-( --Durano, done!