WE must put Addington on hot seat Thursday!

promoted - cho

Dan Froomkin, on WashingtonPost.com, noted today that Vice President Cheney's chief of staff David Addington is going to appear before the House Judiciary Committee this Thursday.

If you don’t know who Addington is, then you really have not been paying attention to the denizens responsible for the inner workings in the dark bowels of the Bush regime. If I had to name two people, after Bush and Cheney themselves, whom I believe most deserve three square meals a day at government expense down in Guantanamo, I would name Karl Rove and Addington. This is the guy who sought, deliberately and consciously, to push the envelope of executive privilege. This is the guy who is probably most responsible for the U.S. adopting torture as an official instrument of state policy.

Can we make our voices heard in the next 36 hours to ensure David Addington gets the grilling he deserves if he actually shows up on Thursday?

The House Judiciary Committee hearings, according to Froomkin, are inquiring into how the Bush regime developed its interrogation policies. Froomkin has posted
20 Questions for David Addington
on Slate.com.

As Froomkin notes:

It's essential that members of the committee not blow the best chance the public has yet had to understand how the United States came to adopt torture as an acceptable interrogation technique and, in so doing, found itself among the world's pariah nations. A compelling and well-supported (if partly circumstantial) narrative casts Addington as the dominant figure in the interagency push to step up the pressure on terror suspects. This is not surprising, as Addington is thought to have been at the red-hot center of pretty much every one of President Bush's most extreme assertions of unfettered executive power. The 51-year-old lawyer is Cheney's most able and devoted henchman, his sharpest knife, his lead loyalist among the legion salted throughout the executive branch. Indeed, he is widely thought to have ghost-written memos and public statements ascribed to better-known figures such as Alberto Gonzales, John Yoo, and William Haynes.

As David Ignatius wrote in the Washington Post on January 6, 2006 (page A19), “Even people who describe themselves as friends of Addington believe that he has damaged President Bush politically by pressing anti-terrorism policies to the legal breaking point.”

John Yoo will also be testifying.

Among the questions Froomkin urges members of the Judiciary Committee to ask:

Q. Did you consider that your tactics might elicit false confessions?

Q. Why did you not think there was any need for a congressional role in these decisions? Did you ever consult with members of Congress about these tactics? Did you inform them of these tactics?

Q. Were you angry at these terror suspects? Did your anger have any role in your thinking?

Q. Were any tactics specifically considered out of bounds? Why was waterboarding OK, but, say, electric shocks to the testicles not? (Or were they? Can you rule out any tactics at all?)

Q. Do you consider the tactics approved for use by the CIA and in Guantanamo to be humane? If not, what makes it OK for us to use them on humans?

I believe the most important questions, in terms of using known specific facts to force Addington to provide answers that could later be used to guide investigators of possible war crimes, would be these:

Q. What precipitated your visit to Guantanamo Bay in September 2002, accompanied by Alberto Gonzales, William Haynes, and others? Did you discuss specific interrogation techniques? A participant in some of your meetings, Lt. Col. Diane Beaver, the staff judge advocate at Guantanamo, told author Philippe Sands that the message she took from you as visitors was to do "whatever needed to be done." Was that the message you intended to deliver?

Q. Former Office of Legal Counsel head Jack Goldsmith writes in his book that when he presented his view that the Fourth Geneva Convention, which describes protections that cover civilians in war zones like Iraq, also covered insurgents and terrorists, you became livid. "The president has already decided that terrorists do not receive Geneva Convention protections" you replied angrily, according to Goldsmith. "You cannot question his decision." Does that accurately reflect your views at the time—and your temperament?

Q. How many meetings did you participate in with CIA officials during which there was discussion about videotapes of CIA interrogation of terror suspects? Did you indicate in any way to the CIA that destroying these tapes would be acceptable or even preferable? Did you do so based on instructions from the vice president? Do you think destroying them was the right thing to do?

I think as many people as possible should contact their members of Congress to urge them to have the members of the Judiciary Committee at the very least review Froomkin’s Slate article, and go into the session with Addington extremely well prepared. And if your Representative is a member of the Judiciary Committee, then you have a moral obligation to call and urge your Representative to be well prepared to give Addington a good grilling.

The members of the Judiciary Committee, chaired by Rep. Conyers of Detroit, (Michigan, 14th) are:

Berman (D) California, 28th

Boucher (D) Virginia, 9th

Nadler (D) New York, 8th

Scott (D) Virginia, 3rd

Watt (D) North Carolina, 12th

Lofgren (D) California, 16th

Jackson Lee (D) Texas, 18th

Waters (D) California, 35th

Delahunt (D) Massachusetts, 10th

Wexler (D) Florida, 19th

Sánchez (D) California, 39th

Cohen (D) Tennessee, 9th

Johnson (D) Georgia, 4th

Sutton (D) Ohio, 13th

Gutierrez (D) Illinois, 4th

Sherman (D) California, 27

Baldwin (D) Wisconsin, 2nd

Weiner (D) New York, 9th

Schiff (D) California, 29th

Davis (D) Alabama , 7th

Wasserman Schultz (D) Florida, 20th

Ellison (D) Minnesota, 5th

Lamar S. Smith (R) Texas, 21st

Sensenbrenner Jr. (R) Wisconsin, 5th

Coble (R) North Carolina, 6th

Gallegly (R) California, 24th

Goodlatte (R) Virginia, 6th

Chabot (R) Ohio, 1st

Lungren (R) California, 3rd

Cannon (R) Utah, 3rd

Keller (R) Florida, 8th

Issa (R) California, 49th

Pence (R) Indiana, 6th

Forbes (R) Virginia, 4th

King (R) Iowa, 5th

Feeney (R) Florida, 24th

Franks (R) Arizona, 2nd

Gohmert (R) Texas, 1st

Jordan (R) Ohio, 4th

Here's the link to Froomkin's Slate article again: 20 Questions for David Addington on Slate.com.

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he is on fire. Most of the Republicans who go before the HJC avoid the heat by evoking a less than cooperative working memory. I'll cross my fingers but won't go as far as holding my breath that he will answer their questions.

I'm willing to bet the testimony is almost a word for word repeat of the answers provided by Gonzales.

"executive privilege".