Thursday, November 15, 2012

Why Donald Rumsfeld Can’t Be Sued for Torture
The facts are a case study in system failure. Donald Vance and Nathan Ertel were Americans working for a private security firm in Iraq. When Vance became suspicious that his employer was selling weapons to groups hostile to the United States, he went to the FBI. Vance and Ertel were then fingered as arms dealers. Military personnel arrested them in 2006 and held them for several weeks.

According to the complaint, Vance and Ertel were held in solitary confinement and subjected to violence, sleep deprivation, extremes of temperature and sound, denial of food, water, and medical care, and other abuses. Though the Army Field Manual (and four judges) calls this torture, the majority opinion prefers the euphemism “harsh interrogation techniques.”
Vance was a 29-year-old Navy veteran from Chicago when he went to Iraq as a security contractor. Vance became an unpaid informant for the F.B.I., passing them evidence that seemed to suggest that the Iraqi security firm at which he worked might be engaged in illegal weapons trading, particularly to officials from the Iraqi Interior Ministry.

 However, when American soldiers raided the firm, he was treated as a suspect. Another American who worked for the company, but had resigned over the alleged weapons trading, was also detained. Vance was held for three months at Camp Cropper, America’s maximum security prison site in Baghdad.

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