Suing Donald Rumsfeld

There’s been little justice for innocent folks scooped up as enemy combatants in the never-ending, costly War on Terror.  Who could forget those pictures of US marines dragging naked men around by dog leashes? Instead of opening the sordid affair to daylight, the Obama administration adopted the posture of putting it all behind us.  This includes defending Donald Rumsfeld.  Rumsfeld is one of the architects of enhanced interrogation techniques. He recently has been out on the talking head circuit with a book and an image boosting tour.  News today says that he may have retired by he can’t run away from his decisions as Secretary of Defense. A judge has allowed an US Army veteran to sue Donald Rumsfeld over torture. The veteran claims that he was tortured and unjustly imprisoned. The man was a translator and is unnamed in the law suit.

Lawyers for the man, who is in his 50s, say he was preparing to come home to the United States on annual leave when he was abducted by the U.S. military and held without justification while his family knew nothing about his whereabouts or even whether he was still alive.

Court papers filed on his behalf say he was repeatedly abused, then suddenly released without explanation in August 2006. Two years later, he filed suit in U.S. District Court in Washington arguing that Rumsfeld personally approved torturous interrogation techniques on a case-by-case basis and controlled his detention without access to courts in violation of his constitutional rights.

Chicago attorney Mike Kanovitz, who is representing the plaintiff, says it appears the military wanted to keep his client behind bars so he couldn’t tell anyone about an important contact he made with a leading sheik while helping collect intelligence in Iraq.

“The U.S. government wasn’t ready for the rest of the world to know about it, so they basically put him on ice,” Kanovitz said in a telephone interview. “If you’ve got unchecked power over the citizens, why not use it?”

The Obama administration has represented Rumsfeld through the U.S. Justice Department and argued that the former defense secretary cannot be sued personally for official conduct. The Justice Department also argued that a judge cannot review wartime decisions that are the constitutional responsibility of Congress and the president. And the department said the case could disclose sensitive information and distract from the war effort, and that the threat of liability would impede future military decisions.

At the heart of the suit are personal damages claim against Rumsfeld for approving interrogation methods of US army at Camp Cropper.

District judge James Gwin rejected those arguments and said US citizens were protected by the constitution at home or abroad during wartime. “The stakes in holding detainees at Camp Cropper may have been high, but one purpose of the constitutional limitations on interrogation techniques and conditions of confinement even domestically is to strike a balance between government objectives and individual rights, even when the stakes are high,” he ruled.

In many other cases brought by foreign detainees, judges have dismissed torture claims against US officials for their personal involvement in decisions over prisoner treatment. But this is the second time a federal judge has allowed a US citizen to sue Rumsfeld personally.

District judge Wayne Andersen in Illinois last year ruled that Donald Vance and Nathan Ertel, Americans who worked in Iraq as contractors and were held at Camp Cropper, could pursue claims that they were tortured using Rumsfeld-approved methods after they suspected the security firm they worked for of engaging in illegal activities.

The US supreme court sets a high bar for suing high-ranking officials, requiring they be tied directly to a violation of constitutional rights and must have clearly understood their actions crossed that line.

There may be little chance for justice for all the victims of the enhanced interrogation program.  I am sure this will again stir up the hornet’s nest of how fascist methods are justified in the face of unmitigated acts of terrorism.   I’m not a lawyer so I can’t really speak for the merits of the case itself.  I do, however, feel that Benjamin Franklin said it best.

Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

BTW, I hope you noticed that Mittens Romney has hired the torture lawyer Steven Bradbury along with the nasty Robert Bork as campaign advisers. Romney also went to Harvard Law School.  Haven’t we had enough Harvard idiots already for one century?

16 Comments on “Suing Donald Rumsfeld”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    I was just about to post this! It’s pretty exciting. I wonder how the Obama administration will go about saving Rumsfeld from the legal system?

  2. The government argued the suit would “distract from the war and impede future military decisions..”

    One would hope torturing a fifty year old citizen would distract from the war and impede certain future idiotic military decisions.

  3. dakinikat says:

    The Guardian has an exclusive look at the UK’s secret torture policy #MuckReads

  4. dakinikat says:

    From FT

    Lee Robinson, the outspoken founder of London hedge fund Trafalgar Asset Managers and former top Tudor Investment Corporation trader, is readying a new hedge fund to profit from the devaluation and collapse of western economies.

  5. dakinikat says:

    Congressional leaders have reached “a bipartisan compromise between the House and the Senate” to fully fund the Federal Aviation Administration, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says.

    The deal will “put 74,000 transportation and construction workers back to work,” Reid says.

    “This agreement does not resolve the important differences that still remain,” Reid said in a written statement. “But I believe we should keep Americans working while Congress settles its differences.”

    from CNN breaking news

    • paper doll says:

      Why does the Federal Aviation Administration have to fight tooth and nail to get its freaking funding?? What? If your private jet can’t shoot down anyone in your air space …you don’t matter??

      a bipartisan compromise

      whenever I see those words my blood runs cold…that’s code for : Dems bend over

  6. dakinikat says:

    What Barack Obama can learn from Bill Clinton.

    • paper doll says:

      Pretty funny : They are trying to make the case that Obama is like Bill was at his 50thbd and will become a ” come back kid “too!


      and of course there is a comment which says Obama should stay clear of” Slick Wille”


  7. dakinikat says:

    Stocks Tumble to Worst Nine-day Slump Since 2009

    A global rout in equities drove the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index to its worst nine-day slump since 2009, while two-year Treasury yields plunged to a record low amid concern the economy is weakening. The yen pared losses, recovering from the biggest drop versus the dollar since 2008 that was triggered as Japan sold its own currency.

    • madamab says:

      I keep remembering how Krugman was saying that the stimulus was too small and not well-thought-out, right from the beginning. Obama started a fight with him and said, “If you have any better ideas, please weigh in.” What a supercilious *ssh0le. If we had done ANYTHING Krugman had recommended in the past 11 freaking years, we would be a whole lot better off than we have been under Bush II and now, Bush III!

    • Pilgrim says:

      Dak, you were saying recently you’d converted to cash. Good on you.

  8. WomanVoter says:

    GOP #TeaParty Debt Ceiling Hostage threats FAIL & #GOP / Inhfe SHUTS DOWN FAA | World reacts = #Dow PLUMMETS 512 … #Obama2012 #Obama


    Can it drop anymore, weren’t the brakes supposed to go on at 500?