On August 8 2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit approved a lawsuit filed by citizens, Donald Vance and Nathan Ertel, regarding a case that threatened their constitutional rights. The suit was against the former Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, who authorized techniques that allowed them to endure physical and psychological torture by the U.S. military personnel in Iraq.
The federal court approved the suit through a 2-1 ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals, which was the highest-level court success for lawyers. The court approved the case merely on the validity of their lawsuit, not on the factuality of their accusations against Donald Rumsfeld and the other U.S. officials involved in the case. Regarding the approval of the suit to proceed forward, the court claimed that Vance and Ertel had alleged facts showing “that it is plausible, and not merely speculative, that Secretary Rumsfeld was personally responsible for creating the policies that caused the alleged unconstitutional torture.”
It began when Vance and Ertel moved to Iraq in 2005 to work for a privately owned security company called Shield Group Security Company, an organization that provided protection for various businesses. Upon becoming suspicious that the company was involved in illegal activities, such as corruption, they became whistleblowers and began providing information to the FBI.
Despite their good intentions, they were later detained for questioning as “security detainees.” They were then arrested and transferred to Camp Prosperity for two days, then later to Camp Cropper where they claimed to suffer through torture and interrogation for concealing information, an accusation of which they were later found to be innocent of. While detained, the two American citizens were allegedly subject to sleep deprivation, solitary confinement, extreme temperatures, and excessively loud music.
Although the full array of the case is still in the process and currently unpredictable, chances are, if the rights of United States citizens are being overlooked for the sake of inhumane war tactics, it should really raise striking concern about the power of the habeas corpus.
“How 2 American Whistleblowers Allegedly Tortured in Iraq May Force Donald Rumsfeld to Pay for His Crimes.” Eric W. Dolan. Alternet.org. August 9, 2011. http://www.alternet.org/world/151956/how_2_american_whistleblowers_allegedly_tortured_in_iraq_may_force_donald_rumsfeld_to_pay_for_his_crimes/.
“Mr. Rumsfeld in the dock?” The Washington Post; Editorial Copy. September 30, 2011. http://www.lexisnexis.com/lnacui2api/api/version1/getDocCui?lni=53XB-8CS1-JBFW-C04X&csi=8075&hl=t&hv=t&hnsd=f&hns=t&hgn=t&oc=00240&perma=true.
“U.S. Accountability.” The International Herald Tribune. August 17, 2011. http://www.lexisnexis.com/lnacui2api/api/version1/getDocCui?lni=53K7-05J1-JC85-N01D&csi=8357&hl=t&hv=t&hnsd=f&hns=t&hgn=t&oc=00240&perma=true.
Student Researcher: Kendall Cochran and Nana Aduba-Amoah
Faculty Advisor: Kevin Howley
Expert Evaluator: Robert Geroux, Professor of Political Science