U.S. Federal Judge says ‘Yes, he can.’


WASHINGTON — A federal judge has ruled that former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld can be sued personally for damages by a former U.S. military contractor who says he was tortured during a nine-month imprisonment in Iraq.

The lawsuit lays out a dramatic tale of the disappearance of the then-civilian contractor, an Army veteran in his 50s whose identity is being withheld from court filings for fear of retaliation. Attorneys for the man, who speaks five languages and worked as a translator for Marines collecting intelligence in Iraq, 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.

The government says he was suspected of helping pass classified information to the enemy and helping anti-coalition forces get into Iraq. But he was never charged with a crime, and he says he never broke the law and was risking his life to help his country.

Court papers filed on his behalf say he was repeatedly abused while being held at Camp Cropper, a U.S. military facility near the Baghdad airport dedicated to holding “high-value” detainees, 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.

U.S. District Judge James Gwin rejected previous arguments presented by the Obama administration through the Justice Department, stating that the Constitution protects U.S. citizens – even during wartime – whether they are at home or abroad.

Of course pigs will fly before Rumsfeld is ever actually held accountable in a court of law for anything related to the Iraq war. Or Michele Bachmann will admit that the messages she says she gets from The Lord are actually a symptom of a psychotic break before Rumsfeld is ever held accountable in a court of law for…oh, you get the picture.

Still, it’s nice to hear one of our Federal judges actually defend the protections provided American citizens by the Constitution. Even when they protect us from our own government.


Cross-posted at Daily Kos

[Photo by DonkeyHotey]

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