Holding corporates to account for helping America torture

Centre for Constitutional Rights launches a necessary case:

Last night, attorneys for Iraqi torture victims abused in the infamous Abu Ghraib prison and other detention centers in Iraq challenged two private military contractors’ claims to immunity from being sued on the grounds that their alleged torture occurred during wartime. Today, a coalition of groups, including retired military officers and human rights NGO’s and experts, supported their claims by filing amicus briefs that argue that for-profit corporations cannot be considered equivalent to U.S. soldiers and should face justice under traditional legal principles governing any illegal conduct.

Said… Center for Constitutional Rights Senior Staff Attorney Katherine Gallagher, “Our plaintiffs – innocent Iraqi civilians – were subjected to horrifying acts of torture because these multi-billion-dollar corporations violated military policies and U.S. law prohibiting torture and other war crimes.… We are in no way challenging battlefield conduct, but rather, our plaintiffs seek accountability for gratuitous and sadistic acts of violence by private companies in Iraq for profit.”
The lawsuits charge… that the two U.S. corporations directed and participated in illegal conduct at Abu Ghraib and other prisons in Iraq, including subjecting plaintiffs to electric shocks, sexual assaults, forced nudity, broken bones, and deprivation of oxygen, food and water. Originally filed in 2008, the two federal lawsuits,Al-Shimari v. CACI… and… Al-Quraishi v. Nakhla, were brought on behalf of 76 Iraqis who were subjected to abuse and torture in Iraq by employees of the corporations, CACI and L-3.… In both cases, the district court ruled the claims could proceed to discovery. The two cases are now being consolidated for the Court of Appeals to assess whether corporate defendants can invoke the immunity available to the United States government and military in order to evade legal, moral and financial responsibility for their role in one of the most notorious episodes in recent American history. The corporations, which had been hired to provide interpretation and interrogation services, argue their actions are protected under the mantle of sovereign immunity and thus beyond review of the courts because they are “combatant military activities.” Court martial and other testimony from soldiers convicted of serious abuse in Iraq directly link both companies to instances of torture.
Said… Shereef Akeel of Akeel & Valentine PLC, “A key principle is at stake here, which is that no one is above the law.… It has been a 7 years struggle and these corporate defendants have not yet been held accountable for their involvement in the Abu-Gharib torture scandal.”…