Sunday, March 7, 2010

Case Involving Rumsfeld Approved Torture Proceeds In Federal Courts

From The Huffington Post:
A federal judge refused Friday to dismiss a civil lawsuit accusing former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld of responsibility for the alleged torture by U.S. forces of two Americans who worked for an Iraqi contracting firm.

U.S. District Judge Wayne R. Andersen's ruling did not say the two contractors had proven their claims, including that they were tortured after reporting alleged illegal activities by their company. But it did say they had alleged enough specific mistreatment to warrant hearing evidence of exactly what happened.

Andersen said his decision "represents a recognition that federal officials may not strip citizens of well settled constitutional protections against mistreatment simply because they are located in a tumultuous foreign setting."

Andersen did throw out two of the lawsuit's three counts but gave former contractors Donald Vance and Nathan Ertel the green light to go forward with a third count alleging they were unconstitutionally tortured under procedures personally approved by Rumsfeld.
I find this to be a good move for the justice department. While this administration has taken a very calculated look at the crimes of the previous administration, and at times finding acts of poor judgment but no criminality, I think that allowing a case to proceed, in which the policies approved by former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld are called into question, with the potential to actually link a former top administration official to a serious violation of constitutional rights, is a step in the right direction. If this story does get picked up by by the conservative media, I would most likely predict that they would attempt to pin this decision on a Democratic vendetta against the previous administration, despite the fact that Judge Andersen was appointed by 41st president of the United States, George Herbert Walker Bush.

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