Paying For Torture

Ten years after the fact, L-3 Services, the American defense contractor on site at Abu Ghraib, is paying $5 million to 71 former detainees. Robert Beckhusen provides background:

Until the settlement, the only response to torture and abuse at the Abu Ghraib prison was the military’s criminal convictions of 11 former soldiers. But L-3 Services allowed “scores of its employees to participate in torturing and abusing prisoners over an extended period of time,” the lawsuit stated. Not only that, but the company “willfully failed to report L-3 employees’ repeated assaults and other criminal conduct” to the United States and Iraq.

Among the claims against the company:

According to the lawsuit, one former inmate said he was forced to drink water until he vomited blood. Other allegations include rape, beatings, being slammed into a wall, and one man alleged he was subject to a mock execution at gunpoint. Many reportedly said they were forced to stand naked for long periods.

All I can say is how remarkable it is that a contractor is forced to pay damages for torture, while the US government refuses even to acknowledge that it authorized and implemented it, that it tortured at least a score of prisoners to death, that no one – no one – involved in the authorization of these war crimes has faced any legal or professional consequences and that war criminals, like Stanley McChrystal, who presided over one of the worst torture camps in Iraq, Camp Nama, ("Nasty-Ass Military Area"), can go on the Daily Show as if he is just another general. No he isn't. Under his command some of the worst incidents of torture took place. Why did Jon Stewart not ask him about that? When will these people be publicly challenged to defend their history of crimes against humanity?

If we can hold contractors accountable, why not the public sector which paid them?