Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Rumsfeld Faces Law Suit Over 'Enhanced Interrogation' of Whistleblowers.

Faith in simple things like justice would be restored if this goes ahead:

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.

So far, so good. What happened next is when this made-for-TV patriotic movie goes off-message.

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.

What kind of interrogation did these whistleblowers endure? Well, according to the complaint: "threats of violence and actual violence, sleep deprivation and alteration, extremes of temperature, extremes of sound, manipulation of light, threats of indefinite detention, denial of food, denial of water, denial of needed medical care, yelling, prolonged solitary confinement, incommunicado detention, falsified allegations and other psychologically disruptive and injuries techniques."
Rumsfeld's lawyers are arguing that he deserves immunity because he was Secretary of Defence at the time, but it's very interesting that the judge isn't buying that argument. The judge has explained that this immunity was designed to prevent speculative lawsuits from wasting officials' time; it's not a bar against bringing legitimate claims.

And, of course, this also raises the question of whether or not these techniques qualify as torture. The judge has said that perhaps individually they do not, but cumulatively, quite possibly they do, especially as they were deliberately inflicted.

This is the nearest we have come to seeing one of these buggers answer in a court of law for what they have done. I won't hold my breath, but it is very interesting that Rumsfeld wasn't cleared at the very first hurdle.

Click here for full article.

No comments: