The Associated Press reports that a Virginia-based contractor has paid $5.78 million dollars in settlement of a lawsuit brought by 71 Iraqis who alleged workers for the company’s subsiduary tortured them at Abu Graib and other sites from 2003 to 2007. The company, Engility Holdings Inc., paid up for the L-3 Services Inc. subsiduary it bought from L-3 Communications after 2007. In 2006, L-3 Services had more than 6,000 translators in Iraq under a $450 million-a-year contract, an L-3 executive told an investors conference at the time.
The ex-detainees filed the lawsuit in federal court in Greenbelt, Maryland, in 2008.
L-3 Services “permitted scores of its employees to participate in torturing and abusing prisoners over an extended period of time throughout Iraq,” the lawsuit stated. The company “wilfully failed to report L-3 employees’ repeated assaults and other criminal conduct by its employees to the United States or Iraq authorities.”
One inmate alleged he was subjected to mock executions by having a gun aimed at his head and the trigger pulled. Another inmate said he was slammed into a wall until he became unconscious. A third was allegedly stripped naked and threatened with rape while his hands and legs were chained and a hood was placed on his head. Another said he was forced to consume so much water that he began to vomit blood. Several of the inmates said they were raped and many of the inmates said they were beaten and kept naked for extended periods of time.
L-3 Services in its defense had cited the immunity from prosecution the American government hands itself against suits stemming from combatant activities of the military “in time of war” and argued that the same immunity extended to contractors working for the government.
Only eleven people were ever convicted over events at Abu Graib, none of the heinious crime of torture itself – all for lesser offences. Corporate slaps on the wrist amounting to a tiny fine in comparison to the sums these companies were paid do not cut the mustard. There has been no accountability for the vast bulk of the individuals responsible for torture, and certainly not proper redress for what is a war crime and a crime against humanity.
Let us not put too fine a point on this. If the U.S. were not a pre-eminent military superpower, but instead some podunk minor nation, national-level leaders would be before international courts for these crimes. That the Obama administration insists on “moving forward”, instead of purging the U.S. of the stain it has given itself, is as immoral an act as has ever been glossed over and conveniently forgotten by “liberals” and “progressives”.
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