Torture Continues to be Legitimized by U.S. Legal System

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Joe Wright
Activist Post

In another blow to human rights, freedom, the law, and morality, the 7th Circuit Court has exonerated Donald Rumsfeld from prosecution for allegations of being a primary architect of U.S. torture policy.

At issue are two Americans, Donald Vance and Nathan Ertel, who worked for a private Iraqi security firm named Shield Group Security. Courthouse News reports the harrowing experience the two men encountered after attempting to blow the whistle to the U.S. government about their employer potentially being involved in illegal arms trades and bribery:

Shield became suspicious of Vance and Ertel in April 2006, confiscated their credentials and effectively trapped them in the firm’s compound. U.S. forces allegedly came to the compound and took the pair to the U.S. Embassy. 

But Vance and Ertel say their rescue soon turned into a nightmare. According to their complaint, U.S. officials transported them to Camp Cropper, where they were kept in solitary confinement and subjected to physical and psychological torture with no ability to contact their families or lawyers. Vance allegedly endured solitary confinement for three months, and Ertel for six weeks. 

After being returned the United States without charges, Vance and Ertel sued Rumsfeld, claiming that he personally approved the interrogation and torture techniques they had endured.

Despite a U.S. District Judge ruling that the lawsuit had merit, and the 7th Circuit temporarily agreeing, the 7th Circuit Court finally voted 8-3 to dismiss the suit. The ruling follows another made by the Supreme Court that rejected all of the Guantanamo detainee torture suits.

In the Guantanamo ruling, Jose Padilla — a U.S. citizen — was at the center of claims made by detainees who have found themselves labeled enemy combatants within the global battlefield that is the War on Terror. The term “enemy combatant” was supposed to have been dropped in 2009, but it still persists within U.S. courts.

On June 11th of this year, all cases filed by detainees were rejected by the United States Supreme Court, leaving little doubt as to the path this country has chosen.  American citizen or not, your rights end where the U.S. government says they end, regardless of Constitutional principles or legal review.

In a previous article I wrote that:

Jose Padilla had been dealt legal blow after legal blow; first having Atlanta’s 11th Circuit Court of Appeals rule against U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke in September 2011, who noted that Padilla had been confined under harsh conditions and had not injured anyone, among other considerations. The majority issued their opinion in vague language that alluded to ‘an impermissible comparison to sentences imposed in other terrorism cases, and was based in part on inappropriate factors,’ as well as his suspected Al Qaeda training. (Source

In January of this year, Padilla was then denied by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Virgina as having any right to even file suit for his claims of illegal detention and torture. 


The 4th Circuit specifically stated their conundrum, as the framework of enemy combatant status essentially circumvents the American legal system.  In response, they passed the buck to Congress, which they stated had not defined any appropriate remedy in their responsibility for military conduct.

This new case dismissal involving the two former security employees, similar to the Padilla case, allows Donald Rumsfeld to once again walk away scot-free for his crimes against humanity, all in the name of the supposed preservation of state secrets. Ditto for torture memo author John Yoo, as well as other officials who laid the foundation and/or gave the orders for confinement and mistreatment. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has made it clear; the 4th Circuit Court; the 11th Circuit Court; the Supreme Court; and now the 7th.

Welcome to the land of the lawless, home of the slave. Congress has clearly flatly refused to provide the framework under which to prosecute criminals at the highest levels.

Congress, and the American legal system which gives it “deference,” are both completely subservient to the U.S. military-government — the “chain of command” as noted in the latest complaint dismissal — which is hell-bent on having its way with citizens of all nations.

Now that the NDAA obliterates the right of Americans to be treated with dignity in peace time or war — whether accused, falsely arrested, tortured, or found legitimately guilty — the doctrine of U.S. torture is officially given free reign to engage in what used to be called atrocities and war crimes, but is now called preserving peace and democracy.

Anytime, anywhere . . . .

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