Tuesday, August 31, 2010

U.S. citizens who say they were tortured get their day in court

Washington Post
August 31, 2010

The allegations are sadly familiar by now: The men were picked up by U.S. military forces, locked in tiny cells, deprived of sleep, and subjected to extreme temperatures and loud music.

What makes these allegations extraordinary is that the men in question, Donald Vance and Nathan Ertel, are U.S. citizens who were working in 2006 for an Iraqi security firm, Shield Group Security. According to court documents, Mr. Vance warned Iraqi-based U.S. officials about possible corruption at the firm, including the funneling of weapons to insurgents. After getting the brushoff, Mr. Vance contacted Chicago agents with the FBI on his next visit home. Mr. Vance and Mr. Ertel began passing information to the FBI once they were back in Iraq. That ended when the firm became suspicious and took the men hostage; Mr. Vance and Mr. Ertel were able to call their FBI contacts, who then alerted the military, which sent soldiers to rescue the men.