Democratic Underground Latest Greatest Lobby Journals Search Options Help Login

Torturing the Whistle Blowers: The Case of Vance and Ertel in Iraq, Substantiated by Wikileaks’ Iraq

Printer-friendly format Printer-friendly format
Printer-friendly format Email this thread to a friend
Printer-friendly format Bookmark this thread
This topic is archived.
Home » Discuss » Archives » General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010) Donate to DU
Hissyspit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-05-10 10:36 PM
Original message
Torturing the Whistle Blowers: The Case of Vance and Ertel in Iraq, Substantiated by Wikileaks’ Iraq

Torturing the Whistle Blowers: The Case of Vance and Ertel in Iraq, Substantiated by Wikileaks’ Iraq War Logs


by Maximilian Forte

Full credit for this story goes to Ishtar Enana, an Iraqi citizen journalist and blogger who has undertaken the monumental task of translating the Wikileaks Iraq War Logs into Arabic. Through her in depth digging through the logs, Ishtar reported (here, here, and here) that she found evidence in the war logs to substantiate the case brought forth in 2007 against Donald Rumsefeld by two American “security contractors” employed in Iraq. The two, Donald Vance and Nathan Ertel, were abducted and imprisoned by U.S. forces, where they experienced a range of American torture and abuse along with Iraqi inmates. The suspicion was that they were whistle blowers concealing a greater amount of information than they had revealed, and all rights were denied to them. Very little about this case has been previously publicized, this one being one of the leading accounts.

As Vance and Ertel make clear in their lawsuit, in 2006 they were “indefinitely detained without due process of law in a United States military compound located on foreign soil. They were not charged with any crime, nor had they committed any crime” (p. 1). They were denied access to an attorney and were subjected to abuse. They specifically point to Donald Rumsfeld for instituting a series of unconstitutional policies that would deprive anyone deemed to be an “enemy combatant,” even if American, any of the rights inherent to due process.

So what started the ball rolling against Vance and Ertel and why were they targeted? They were whistle blowers, the details of which are produced from pages 11 through 24 of their lawsuit, and on page 27. Their revelations implicate independent American military contractors who set up a corrupt weapons trade in Iraq, and even a State Department employee who simultaneously had business dealings with one such private entity, the Shield Security Group. Vance and Ertel also uncovered the “beer for bullets” program (p. 20), organized by American contractor Josef Trimpert, where Trimpert would use SGS money to buy imported liquor, which was then given to U.S. troops in exchange for weapons and ammunition, which were then sold locally.

- snip -

One of the striking things brought forth in the lawsuit by Vance and Ertel is that once they had severed ties with SGS, they were effectively stranded outside the “Green Zone,” and kept within this SGS compound–and when they called the U.S. Embassy for help, and troops were sent to “rescue” them, that is when they were taken into custody by their “rescuers” and then brought first to Camp Prosperity and then Camp Cropper. Eventually they were submitted to the same kind of abuse that some might have thought had been reserved for Iraqi “terrorists” only. The further irony is that they were being accused of the very activities about which they leaked information, that corrupt American contractors at SGS were involved in an illegal weapons trade that likely benefited insurgents.

Had this all been just the word of Vance and Ertel, some might have sought to dismiss their claims. However, the Wikileaks Iraq War Logs contain a document that lends weight to their claims. That document states that two American civilians were being held captive in a compound and were rescued by coalition forces, and that a large weapons cache had also been found. These two Americans are identified as employees of the Shield Security Group, held by SGS against their will. The document also states that the weapons cache belonged to SGS, and does not in any way suggest that it somehow belonged to Vance and Ertel; when Vance’s and Ertel’s American rescuers/captors later accused them of stockpiling arms for insurgents, it was clearly an accusation made knowing it was false. Indeed, SGS is classed in the document by the U.S. Embassy as a “bad employer.”


Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top

Home » Discuss » Archives » General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010) Donate to DU

Powered by DCForum+ Version 1.1 Copyright 1997-2002
Software has been extensively modified by the DU administrators

Important Notices: By participating on this discussion board, visitors agree to abide by the rules outlined on our Rules page. Messages posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums are the opinions of the individuals who post them, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Democratic Underground, LLC.

Home  |  Discussion Forums  |  Journals |  Store  |  Donate

About DU  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy

Got a message for Democratic Underground? Click here to send us a message.

© 2001 - 2011 Democratic Underground, LLC