In Report to UN Committee Against Torture, US Government Touts Division That Doesn’t Really Prosecute Torturers

By: Thursday October 16, 2014 7:56 am

The United States government submitted its “periodic report” to the United Nations Committee Against Torture. There are multiple glaring aspects of the government’s report on how it believes it is complying fully with the Convention Against Torture (CAT), however, one part of the report where the government claims to have done what it was supposed to do to investigate torture stands out. In particular, the government highlights a Justice Department division as a challenge to impunity for torture, which appears to have prosecuted zero public cases of torture against US officials.

To those unfamiliar, countries which are signatories to the CAT are expected to submit reports every four years to the committee. The committee reviews the report and then issues its own “concluding observations” with concerns and recommendations to the “State party.”

 

Dismissal of Whistleblower’s Lawsuit Against Rumsfeld Grants US Officials Greater Immunity for Torture

By: Monday November 12, 2012 4:12 pm

A federal court dismissed a lawsuit against former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. The suit, brought by Donald Vance, a US Navy veteran and former defense contractor, and Nathan Ertel, also a former defense contractor, alleged he was responsible for torture they had experienced in an American-run prison in Iraq for nearly one hundred days. The dismissal effectively makes it even more impossible for US citizens to sue high-ranking officials, who are responsible for their torture.

The Myth of Military Contracting

By: Saturday October 29, 2011 3:25 pm

The war industry stood back with glee when it released a shoddy study that produced the sought-after deceptive headlines about defense spending, the magic sauce of job creation. There was no balance to these reports, and the War Industry should know, because they funded it!

Rumsfeld Loses Attempt to Have Torture Suit Filed Against Him By Two Contractors Dismissed

By: Monday August 8, 2011 7:15 pm

A federal court has rejected former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s attempt to have a lawsuit dismissed that alleges he is responsible for authorizing the torture of two military contractors. The case, Donald Vance and Nathan Ertel v. Donald Rumsfeld, et al is one of two cases out of more than a dozen that allege Rumsfeld allowed torture to take place against US citizens in Iraq.

The dismissal means Rumsfeld has now lost two appeals against torture suits filed against him. Last week, a federal court in Washington, DC, released an opinion that upheld the other lawsuit moving forward against Rumsfeld, John Doe v. Donald Rumsfeld, et al, a case that alleges the former defense secretary had a role in the torture and illegal detention of a US citizen that was working in Iraq as a translator.

They Won’t Even Create Jobs in the Military-Industrial Complex Anymore

By: Tuesday March 8, 2011 5:25 pm

You know how I have argued that our country does have an industrial plan, one that is commonly called the Military-Industrial Complex? The government dumps seemingly unlimited amount of money into selected projects. Defense companies make sure to spread the jobs created by defense contracts around, so members of Congress support those contracts in bipartisan fashion. And then we export things like jets–one of the few things we export anymore.

Only, if we allow defense contractors to use prison labor, then the whole scheme sort of breaks down.

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Kathryn Bolkovac, The Whistleblower: Sex Trafficking, Military Contractors, and One Woman’s Fight for Justice

By: Sunday February 6, 2011 1:59 pm

On April 11, 2010, private US military contractor DynCorp threw a party at its US-taxpayer funded Kunduz Regional Training Center where its employees train Afghan police. DynCorp’s employees allegedly took drugs and paid young “dancing boys” to entertain them.

Wikileaks: It Was Chaos For Contractors, Too

By: Sunday October 24, 2010 1:30 pm

Really good New York Times piece on WikiLeaked accounts of private security contractors. And while it’s not the main thrust of the piece, the following section shows how the murky legal rules and chain-of-command situation in Iraq worked to the contractors’ detriment as well as their benefit: The threats were not limited to insurgents, the [...]

State Department Re-Ups with Blackwater

By: Friday October 1, 2010 4:35 pm

The State Department’s $10 billion, five-year contract with private security firms is finally out. Guess who’s still a part of it?

House Oversight Chair Wildly Optimistic About Afghanistan Mission; Reality Begs to Differ

By: Monday August 9, 2010 4:10 pm

Rep. Towns, are we really supposed to believe that with the change of a single leadership role in Afghanistan, that these enormous problems with accountability and transparency in DOD contracting and the mission in Afghanistan have changed virtually overnight, that a culture in which lawlessness and corruption has been ingrained for decades has suddenly turned itself around?

Manic Monday Expected in Washington: How Many Mil Contractors Are There?

By: Sunday July 18, 2010 4:00 pm

On Monday it’s expected that the Washington Post will debut a series by Dana Priest on military contractors, with an emphasis on intelligence contracting. We’ve known for some time there are far more contractors than troops, that we don’t know the exact number — which makes for a lot of interesting questions.

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