Judge Rejects CACI’s Attempt To Dismiss Torture Case
In April 2003, the George W. Bush administration led an illegal invasion of Iraq based on lies about weapons of mass destruction. That war resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. After the invasion, there was a mass roundup of Iraqis ” primarily men and boys ” with no plan or proper basis for detention. The United States then turned to contractors (mercenaries) to assist with interrogations and provide interpretation services, many of whom lacked proper training. Indeed, the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were the most outsourced in U.S. history. It was against this backdrop that the horrors we all saw in the photos of Abu Ghraib happened.
In Iraq, unlike Guantanamo (and the CIA blacksites), there was never any question that the Geneva Conventions applied – and torture was illegal. CACI, a U.S. corporation, contracted with the United States military to provide interrogation services to the U.S. Army at Iraqs notorious Abu Ghraib prison.
In 2008, Iraqi civilians Suhal Al Shimari, Salah Al-Ejaili, and Asa’ad Al-Zubae filed a lawsuit against CACI under the Alien Tort Statute seeking damages for the torture and abuse they suffered while detained at Abu Ghraib. The three plaintiffs allege that CACI employees conspired with and aided and abetted U.S. military personnel in subjecting them to torture; cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment; and war crimes, in violation of international law. A U.S. Army General called their treatment sadistic, blatant, and wanton.
On July 31, U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema in the Eastern District of Virginia rejected CACIs attempts to have the case dismissed.
Guest – Katherine Gallagher is a senior staff attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights, where she specializes in the enforcement of human rights, including the prohibition against torture. She is one of the attorneys who filed the lawsuit against CACI.
Three of Newburgh Four Released
On July 25, a judge ordered the compassionate release of three of the so-called Newburgh Four — Onta Williams, David Williams, and Laguerre Payen. The men, who are Black Muslims from Newburgh, New York, were convicted and sentenced to 25 years in prison on terrorism charges in 2011.
In the July release order, US District Court Judge Colleen McMahon suggested that the FBI had invented a conspiracy. She said that FBI agents had used an unscrupulous operative to persuade the four to join in a plan to bomb a synagogue in the Bronx and fire Stinger missiles at military planes at Stewart Airport near Newburgh, New York. While bombs were, in fact, left outside a synagogue in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, they were fakes built by the FBI.
Guest – Kathy Manley, New York appellate attorney joins us to talk about this late-in-coming victory. Among her many victories was the 2015 case of People v. Diack, which struck down county and local sex offender residence restrictions throughout New York State. Kathy works with several civil rights groups, including the Coalition Of Civil Freedoms.