Monday, March 8, 2010
COULD RUMSFELD FACE CHARGES IN ALLEGED TORTURE CASE?
What are the known unknowns and the unknown knowns in this case that involves American citizens who were deprived of their rights?
From Crooks and Liars:
Donald Rumsfeld Faces Suit Over Torturing Whistle Blowers
According to the complaint filed against former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, as summarized by Judge Anderson in his order refusing to dismiss the case, two men employed in Iraq by Shield Group Security (SGS) allege that their employer bribed Iraqi Sheiks and trafficked in weapons, activities they worried were illegal. The men allege that on a visit back home, one (with the knowledge and cooperation of the other) contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation and became informants, giving regular reports and copying computer files as directed. SGS started questioning their loyalty and took away the identification cards that allowed them to access Baghdad's Green Zone. As a result, their lives were placed at risk; the only safe place to be was the SGS compound. When the men contacted their law enforcement handlers, they claim they were told to barricade themselves in an SGS room and await rescue by the U.S. military. They were in fact rescued and brought to the U.S. embassy, where allegedly they explained their undercover corruption- exposing work, and turned over their laptops, which corroborated what they said.
According to the complaint, after the men slept for a couple of hours, several armed guards woke, arrested, handcuffed and blindfolded them, put into a Humvee, and brought them to Camp Prosperity and ultimately Camp Cropper for detention and interrogation. The men were labeled "security internees" affiliated with SGS, a status that enabled the men to be detained indefinitely, incommunicado, without access to due process or an attorney, and interrogated with torturous techniques. This status was a direct result of policies enacted by Rumsfeld and others, and the interrogation techniques used were specifically authorized by Rumsfeld, the men allege.
Based on this alleged treatment and Rumsfeld's alleged involvement, the men sued Rumsfeld in part for depriving them of their well established Constitutional Right to be free from torture.
What kind of torture you ask? The contractors allege that they were subjected to extremes of temperature, sleep deprivation, denial of food, water and medical care, prolonged solitary confinement and threats of violence as well as actual violence.
As would be expected, Rumsfeld's attorneys argued that he should be granted immunity since he was acting as the Secretary of Defense, but the judge surprisingly ruled against that motion.
If this case continues to trial, this may offer us the fullest account of the kind of crimes the Bush administration took so casually and set precedent for other similar cases.