May 14, 2012 - On Friday, a federal appellate court ruled that private military contractors allegedly complicit in torture at Abu Ghraib aren’t immune from prosecution. In post 9/11 America, that counts as a significant victory for the rule of law.
As everyone knows, soldiers and civilian contractors at the Abu Ghraib prison committed criminal offenses, with military officials going so far as to hide prisoners from the Red Cross. In 2004, an independent panel of civilian defense experts found that Pentagon leaders helped create the conditions that led to the scandal. “The abuses were not just the failure of some individuals to follow known standards, and they are more than the failure of a few leaders to enforce proper discipline,” the report said. “There is both institutional and personal responsibility at higher levels.”
Despite these findings, only low-ranking soldiers were sent to prison, including Lynndie England (she of dog-leash infamy) and her co-conspirator Charles Graner. That was it. Higher-level officials either got away scot-free, or with a reprimand.
Over the last several years, two private military contractors linked to prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib have been pleading for the same treatment afforded to Pentagon execs. read more>>>