Federal Court Rules Donald Rumsfeld can be Held Liable for Torture of U.S. Citizens in Iraq
A federal court has ruled that former Bush-era Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld can be held liable for the torture of American citizens in Iraq.
According to the Associated Press, Rumsfeld must now face a lawsuit filed by Donald Vance and Nathan Ertel, two American contractors working in Iraq who were arrested, detained and tortured by U.S. forces in 2005.
The U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago upheld a lower court ruling that permitted the two men to sue Rumsfeld for their treatment at the hands of the U.S. Army at Camp Cropper.
The Americans were working for an Iraqi security company, Shield Group Security, when they contacted the F.B.I. regarding illegal arms sales to militant groups and death squads. They became F.B.I. informants but were arrested and detained in the same high-security unit that once housed Saddam Hussein. There, they were subjected to many of the same tortures used against terrorism suspects, including extreme temperatures, sleep deprivation and loud music.
It didn’t take long for the Camp Cropper detention board to determine that Ertel was innocent; still, he was held for 18 more days after he was cleared of any wrongdoing. Vance was not released after spending 97 days behind bars. He was charged with no crime.
“We conclude that plaintiffs have sufficiently alleged that Secretary Rumsfeld acted deliberately in authorizing interrogation techniques that amount to torture,” U.S. Circuit Judge David Hamilton wrote in affirmation of the mens’ right to sue. Indeed, a bipartisan Senate investigation determined that “Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s authorization of interrogation techniques…was a direct cause of detainee abuse.” It was Rumsfeld who signed off on the torture techniques used at the Guantanamo Bay concentration camp, the notorious Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad, Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan and elsewhere. Rumsfeld was also instrumental in bringing torture from the C.I.A. to the military.
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