March 08, 2006

"Within the Scope of His Employment"

What is within the scope of Rumsfeld's employment? Why, torture of course:
The U.S. Justice Department asked a federal court on Monday to dismiss a lawsuit charging that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld bears responsibility for the torture of detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In its first substantive response to the lawsuit filed by two rights groups, the Justice Department said the suit against Rumsfeld should be dismissed based on the "absolute immunity" granted federal officials under 1988 legislation on civil lawsuits.

"That act bars suits against federal officials for conduct performed with the scope of their employment except for claims for violations of the Constitution or of federal statutes," the filing said.

The government also said that the court had no jurisdiction over cases seeking damages for alleged violations of international law.

The American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights First filed suit on March 1, 2005 on behalf of nine men -- five Iraqis and four Afghans -- who said they were tortured by U.S. forces while in custody. None of the men were ever prosecuted. All were released.

The suit focuses on an order Rumsfeld signed in December 2002, that authorized new interrogation techniques for detainees in the "war on terror," including "stress positions," 20-hour interrogations, removal of clothing, the use of dogs and prolonged isolation and sensory deprivation.

The suit alleges that when evidence became overwhelming that prisoners were being tortured, Rumsfeld turned a blind eye.

"Secretary Rumsfeld takes the extraordinary position in his brief that ordering torture was 'within the scope of his employment' as Secretary of Defense. Especially in light of recent finds that no one at senior levels has been held to account for gross acts of torture and abuse of detainees, this is a remarkable abdication of the responsibility of command," said Deborah Pearlstein, a representative of Human Rights First.
As I've noted before, they want to be able to do whatever they wish -- and they never want to be held accountable for any of it, not in a court of law and not anywhere else at all.

Related posts: A Lawless, Barbarian Nation

On Torture