Monday, July 20, 2009

Support CCR Call to Ban Private Contractors from Interrogations

The Center for Constitutional Rights has called for the public to take action regarding the Interrogations and Military Commissions provisions in the 2010 Defense Bill.
The U.S. Senate is in the process of debating the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for 2010. The NDAA currently includes a provision that bans the use of private military contractors from conducting interrogations of detainees. Also, an amendment to the bill could require the video recording of all interrogations. The White House is opposed to the provision that bans the use of private contractors from conducting interrogations and is also opposed to any amendment requiring video recording. There is a possibility that these elements could be stripped from the bill.

Also, while the elements pertaining to interrogations are positive developments, the NDAA could undermine our efforts to end the use of military commissions. CCR has long maintained that the use of military commissions is absolutely unacceptable in a democracy. The NDAA currently includes provisions that would change the laws regarding the use of military commissions, changes that the Obama administration appears to welcome, stating the changes will “make the commissions an effective and fair system of justice.” Congress should not refine a broken and unjust system – they should repeal the Military Commissions Act of 2006.

Write your Senators today and send a clear message that private contractors should be banned from conducting interrogations, that all interrogations should be recorded, and that military commissions have no place in our justice system. [A sample letter and a form to fill out to send a letter right away is available at this link.]
Regarding the contractor issue, CCR reports:
In April 2004, 60 Minutes II and the New Yorker exposed a system of torture and humiliation of Iraqi prisoners detained by the U.S. at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. The revelationof pictures and video documenting horrific abuses led to the court-martial of a small number of low-level U.S. soldiers. Relatively unexamined, however, is the role played by contractors from two U.S.-based companies: Titan Corporation/L-3 and CACI International, Inc. Although Titan/L-3 and CACI employees were directly involved in the torture of Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib and other prisons, no employee of either company has been convicted of any crime.
See Facts on Corporations & Torture in Prisons in Iraq (PDF):
After the U.S. military invaded Iraq in March 2003, dozens of private military companies — including CACI and Titan/L-3 — were hired to support U.S. military and government operations there. Companies with U.S. government contracts provide a vast array of services in Iraq, ranging from personal security for Iraqi and American officials to protection of oil facilities to armed escorts for “reconstruction” businesses. The contracts between the U.S.-led occupation authority and for profit military groups are worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

Titan/L-3 and CACI are two corporations with headquarters in the U.S. which contracted with the U.S. military to provide services in Iraq. Titan/L-3 was hired to provide translation services for U.S. personnel at Iraqi prisons. CACI was contracted to provide interrogation services, supplying nearly half of the interrogators at Abu Ghraib. Employees from both corporations were part of the conspiracy to torture Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib and other prisons....

In the spring and early summer of 2008, CCR, with Susan Burke and other attorneys from Burke O’Neil and Shereef Akeel of Akeel & Valentine, filed five new cases against CACI and Titan/L-3 and individual torturers. These cases were filed on behalf of new plaintiffs. (The motion in Saleh for class certification was denied in December 2007). These cases have since been condensed into two lawsuits: Al Shimari v. CACI International and Al-Quraishi v. Nakhla and L-3 Services, Inc....

Sign up for CCR action alerts to receive updates and calls to action about contractors in Iraq and other corporate human rights cases on our website

For specific information on these cases, visit:
I heartily endorse CCR's actions, and hope readers will go to CCR's website and learn more about these important cases, little covered by the media.

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