Thankfully, a US circuit court has upheld the rights of Donald Vance (a US Navy veteran) and Nathan Ertel, both US citizens, to sue former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld for torture.
The “crime” for which they were tortured: The pair accused an Iraqi firm of bribery and corruption.
The punishment: The whistle-blowers were arrested, detained, tortured for months, with no access to a judge or lawyers, then ultimately dumped at the Baghdad airport without charge.
Two American men will be allowed to sue former Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld over claims that they were unfairly tortured by U.S. troops in Iraq.
The pair argue that their rights of ‘habeas corpus’ – the legal term for unlawful detention – were violated, and are seeking damages from 79-year-old Rumsfeld, who was succeeded by Robert Gates in December 2007, and unnamed others.
Vance and Ertel had been hired by Shield Group Security, an Iraqi firm who the duo believed were involved in some questionable dealings, including illegal bribery and other corruption activities.
They flagged up their concerns to the U.S. authorities and began co-operating with the Federal Bureau of Investigation – and in early 2006 they were taken into custody and slung into Camp Cropper, the notorious holding facility for security detainees near Baghdad International Airport.
The whistle-blowers claim that they were forced to undergo harsh and prolonged interrogations at the same place Sadam Hussain lived his last years, and they were subjected to physical and emotional abuse.
Among the methods of torture used against them during several weeks in military camps was sleep deprivation and a practice known as ‘walling’, in which subjects are blindfolded and walked into walls, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit alleges Mr Rumsfeld personally participated in approving the methods for use by the U.S. military in Iraq, making him responsible, it argues, for what happened to Mr Vance and Mr Ertel.
In 2003, Mr Rumsfeld instituted a policy that ‘encouraged physical coercion and sexual humiliation of Iraqi prisoners in an effort to generate more intelligence about the growing insurgency in Iraq’.
And yesterday a panel of three judges at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago upheld the decision made by a federal judge in Illinois, voting 2-1.
The verdict paves the way for the lawsuit to proceed, in spite of the best efforts of the U.S. government to have the case thrown out.
U.S. Circuit Judge David Hamilton wrote yesterday: ‘There can be no doubt that the deliberate infliction of such treatment on U.S. citizens, even in a war zone, is unconstitutional.’
Countdown-The torture of Don Vance-08-05-2011
Link if the above video does not play: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v;=Gd40g1IGma4#at=120
I an sick of war, the US war machine, the trillions of dollars we have wasted on war because idiots like Rumsfeld thought “Iraq had rich targets”. I sincerely hope Rumsfeld is tried, convicted, sentenced to prison for life, then buried with Saddam Hussein, someone of like mind.
I commend Donald Vance for refusing to accept bribe money from the US government to not proceed with the lawsuit. It is high time the United States of America prosecutes people for war crimes and torture. Donald Rumsfeld is the perfect place to start.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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