warning Hi, we've moved to USCANNENBERGMEDIA.COM. Visit us there!

Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

Donald Rumsfeld Stripped Of Immunity In Torture Case

Cara Palmer |
September 20, 2011 | 11:24 a.m. PDT

Senior Opinion Editor

(Justin Norman, Phillip Harder, and Wesley Norman, Creative Commons)
(Justin Norman, Phillip Harder, and Wesley Norman, Creative Commons)
Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was stripped of immunity in a case involving the torture of two United States citizens.

Two FBI informants, Donald Vance and Nathan Ertel, were detained and tortured by United States military personnel in Iraq in 2006. They filed suit against Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld for violations of their constitutional rights. The Judicial View states:

“Plaintiffs seek damages from Secretary Rumsfeld and others for their roles in creating and carrying out policies that caused plaintiffs’ alleged torture. Plaintiffs also bring a claim against the United States under the Administrative Procedure Act to recover personal property that was seized when they were detained.”

Rumsfeld and the United States government moved to dismiss the charges, and were denied. The plaintiffs relayed “in sufficient detail facts supporting Secretary Rumsfeld’s personal responsibility for the alleged torture.”

Alternet reports:

“Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has been stripped of legal immunity for acts of torture against US citizens authorized while he was in office.”

Donald Vance and Nathan Ertel can continue their suit against Donald Rumsfeld.

The torture of these two United States citizens took place among the wider context of the inhumane torture of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib, which Rumsfeld authorized.

Removing Rumsfeld’s status of immunity sends a larger message that crimes against humanity committed against United States citizens will not be tolerated, no matter who the perpetrators. It is a step toward proclaiming that no such crimes will ever be tolerated, whether the victims are United States citizens or Iraqi citizens or anyone around the world. And it is a step toward proclaiming that no matter who authorized such inhumane, illegal actions, they will be held responsible.


Reach Senior Opinion Editor Cara Palmer here or follow her on Twitter.



Craig Gillespie directed this true story about "the most daring rescue mission in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard.”

Watch USC Annenberg Media's live State of the Union recap and analysis here.