Daily Archives: December 19, 2006

Chicago man claims held and tortured by US troops in Iraq

By Matt O’Connor in SanLuisObispo.com

CHICAGO – A Chicago man who worked for an Iraqi contractor alleged Monday he was imprisoned in a U.S. military compound in Baghdad, held incommunicado for more than three months and subjected to interrogation techniques “tantamount to torture.”

In a federal lawsuit filed in Chicago, Donald Vance, 29, a Navy veteran, charged that his constitutional rights were trampled by American military interrogators even though they knew he was a U.S. citizen.

“I couldn’t believe they did this to any human being,” said Vance in a telephone interview.

Vance was taken into custody without charges in April. While imprisoned at Camp Cropper near Baghdad International Airport, Vance said, he was held in solitary confinement in a continuously lit, windowless and extremely cold cell as loud heavy metal and country music blared nonstop.

The lawsuit charged that Vance, a security consultant for a private Iraqi firm at the time, was denied basic constitutional rights to due process as if he were a suspected terrorist or enemy combatant.

“That’s why they did it to him – because they could,” said Jon Loevy, one of Vance’s lawyers. “If they could do it to Mr. Vance, they could do it to anybody.”

The suit sought unspecified damages and named Donald Rumsfeld, who stepped down last week as U.S. secretary of defense, as its lone defendant for his role in overseeing the military prison system in Iraq.

For the full article go here

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Root failures

Chatham House is a widely respected think tank on international affairs. A new report from its Director describes the root failure of Tony Blair’s foreign policy as his inability to influence the Bush administration in any significant way.

The invasion of Iraq was a ‘terrible mistake’ and the absence of a UN Security Council Resolution authorizing the use of force drove a ‘horse and cart’ through Blair’s earlier, self-proclaimed, doctrine of international community. The post-invasion ‘d’b’cle’ has undermined British influence internationally and over crucial issues including a two-state solution in the Middle East. A distancing of the UK from the US and a closer relationship with Europe are requirements of post-Blair foreign policy. However, the UK will have to work to be taken more seriously by its European partners.

Read the report here

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