This is an historic first; a legal case against a high-ranking U.S. government official for torture. The mainstream media presents a deafening silence on the matter. Certainly one can know that if this were a sex scandal, if this high-ranking official had been caught in an airport men’s room stall using a “wide stance”, or if he had been caught cheating on his wife, it would be all over the airwaves. Searching the Internet for information about this historic development, there is basically one news release via Associate Press that is reiterated on virtually every site that mentions this development.
The United States Secretary of Defense under the Bush/Cheney regime, Donald Rumsfeld, is facing charges of torture, which at this point in time is hardly news. Be that as it may, there has been an important recent development in the matter of Rumsfeld’s torture involvement, and hardly a note is seen or heard in the major news media outlets regarding this recent major development in Rumsfeld’s Bush/Cheney era torturous offenses against our national ideals.
Two U.S. citizens, contractors Donald Vance and Nathan Ertel, have filed a civil lawsuit against Rumsfeld that alleges they were tortured while in Iraq working for an Iraqi owned security firm, Shield Group Security. The court ruling (PDF) presents a fairly thorough written account of the background of the case, which to my reading reeks of cover-up.
On page six of the ruling by Judge Wayne Anderson of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (PDF), the ruling in Ashcroft v. Iqbal is cited as a ruling that specifically created more stringent criteria for allowing such a lawsuit to move forward. A key point here is the following quotation from Judge Anderson’s written decision:
“Iqbal undoubtedly requires vigilance on our part to ensure that claims which do not state a plausible claim for relief are not allowed to occupy the time of high-ranking government officials. It is not, however, a categorical bar on claims against these officials. When a plaintiff presents well-pleaded factual allegations sufficient to raise a right to relief above a speculative level, that plaintiff is entitled to have his claim survive a motion to dismiss even if one of the defendants is a high-ranking government official.”
Attorney Mike Kanovitz for Vance and Ertel said;
“…even though it requires a high amount of specific evidence for holding him liable, there’s enough evidence in the complaint that he did authorize this type of violence to be sufficient to force him to answer for these actions in a court of law.”
Despite the ruling in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, which made it more difficult to pursue such a lawsuit against high-ranking officials, Judge Anderson still decided the evidence is sufficient to allow the suit to move forward. If this evidence exists, now, it existed years ago; again, that is something we all already knew.
Finally, a court of law in the U.S. has issued a ruling that there is sufficient evidence of crimes having been committed by a high-ranking official of the previous administration that the particular official named in the lawsuit must answer allegations in a court of law. Where is the mainstream media? Why are there no television pundits exploring the background of the allegations, the links between this official, his decisions, and other high-ranking officials from the Bush/Cheney administration, the implications for our national moral conscience? Why is there no discussion about why the Department of Justice has taken no actions against these offenses? Where is the mainstream media on this story?
The assertion put forth by Obama and many others that Americans should forget the issues of the crimes committed by the Bush/Cheney regime – simply put them out of our memory – is not a healthy national approach; that approach leads to a toxic national perspective. The “insurance reform” non-debate has served as a marvelous distraction from other issues, but there is no excuse for the total media silence regarding this development in the prosecution of the criminality of the previous administration.Perhaps if someone could present some nude photos of these two men as they were being tortured, or evidence of another sexual atrocity having been perpetrated against them while in custody or that they are gay; perhaps then the media would take an interest. Meanwhile, all we can do is wonder about the deafening silence.
*Nod to Cindy Ross