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Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Rumsfeld, Sodomy, and the Lash 

On behalf of eight tortured detainees, the ACLU and Human Rights First have filed a lawsuit against Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld:
The suit contends that Rumsfeld is to blame for the abuses because he changed long-held interrogation policies and practices designed to prohibit torture.

The groups said the Pentagon chief later ignored overwhelming evidence that the policies had resulted in abuse of prisoner . . . .

"He gives lip service to being responsible, but has not been held accountable ... and the victims have not been compensated," said Lucas Guttentag, lead counsel in the suit and director of the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project.

The suit was filed in federal court in Chicago because Rumsfeld's home state is Illinois. It seeks an undetermined amount of compensation and asks for a finding that Rumsfeld violated the Constitution and Geneva Conventions on prisoner treatment.

At the same time, the ACLU filed three similar suits in other states against Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, who was the commander in Iraq, and Col. Thomas Pappas and Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, who were commanders at Abu Ghraib. The complaints were filed in federal courts in South Carolina, Texas and Connecticut.
Our distinguished colleague Joe Wezorek of American Leftist has all the particulars, including the full text of the complaint and the Pentagon's reply. You will find an interview with Anthony Romero of the ACLU here, and a statement by Michael Posner of Human Rights First here.

UPDATE: According to the Human Rights First website, two of the retired military leaders who wrote an open letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee opposing the confirmation of Alberto Gonzales have also come on board for the Rumsfeld suit:
The groups are joined as co-counsel in the lawsuit by Rear Admiral John D. Hutson (Ret. USN), former Judge Advocate General of the Navy; Brigadier General James Cullen (Ret. USA), former Chief Judge (IMA) of the U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals; and Bill Lann Lee, Chair of the Human Rights Practice Group at Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein, LLP and former Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights at the Department of Justice. Admiral Hutson and General Cullen are “of counsel” to Human Rights First.

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