Truth is stranger than fiction, and more depressing.
Before the human rights abuses of the Iraq War vanish entirely down our cultural memory hole, let’s take a moment to remember the well-documented torture of detainees by contractors paid by the U.S. government. Some of the victims of that torture recently brought suit in American courts against those who tortured them, but the case was dismissed.
Mind you, it wasn’t dismissed because the allegations weren’t true, it was dismissed because the torture took place in Iraq, and was therefore not subject to U.S. law. This is a convenient arrangement for CACI: their actions weren’t subject to U.S. law because they were in Iraq, they weren’t subject to Iraqi law because they were acting for the U.S. military, and they weren’t subject to military law because they’re private contractors.
It’s hard to deny that’s a pretty sweet deal for anyone who wants to commit crimes, violate human rights, or… well, do anything that might reasonably be illegal. But it’s the deal CACI got, so you’d think they’d be happy.
But now, amazingly, CACI International is suing the plaintiffs for recovery of legal fees. As the Washington Post reports:
The plaintiffs “have very limited financial means, even by non-U.S. standards, and dramatically so when compared to the corporate defendants in this case,” the filing said. “At the same time, plaintiffs’ serious claims of torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, and war crimes were dismissed on very close, difficult — and only recently arguable — grounds.”
Baher Azmy, the attorney for the plaintiffs and legal director at the Center for Constitutional Rights, said the effort “appears to me an attempt to intimidate the plaintiffs.”
Yes, a filthy rich corporation is suing desperately poor people that it’s accused of torturing, on the grounds that the victims attempted to seek redress for the torture despite the total legal immunity of the corporation.
If I were making up a cartoonishly evil action for the villains in a story, I would dismiss that as way too over-the-top. But, well… here we are.
Photo—CACI International CEO J. Phillip “Jack” London