The Torture State's Latest Victoryby Will Grigg
Jun. 13, 2013
The Supreme Court has quietly dismissed a lawsuit filed by a U.S. Navy veteran named Donald Vance who was illegally imprisoned and tortured by the government he served.
In 2004, during the U.S. occupation of Iraq, Donald Vance went to that country to work as a security contractor. He soon discovered that the company employing him was deeply corrupt and selling weapons to radical Islamist militias. Vance contacted the FBI and began feeding it information about what he found. This prompted military officials to arrest Vance and confine him in an Iraqi dungeon, where he was tortured.
Like foreign nationals who had been detained in Iraq and Afghanistan, Vance was told by his captors not to disclose what had been done to him. To his credit, once he was home Vance – along with a fellow detained named Nathan Ertel -- contacted an attorney and filed a lawsuit against Rumsfeld. The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals insisted that Rumsfeld could not be held responsible for the crimes committed by his subordinates – who, in turn, insisted that they weren’t liable for carrying out crimes that were authorized by their superiors. Those perverse, mutually reinforcing claims of immunity have been tacitly ratified by the U.S. Supreme Court.