What About the Private Contractors @ Abu Ghaib and Elsewhere?

Should DoD & CPA private contractors, in general, be held legally liable for their actions?

Should the contractors specifically named as suspects in the Taguba report be subject to prosecution?
I say,“Of course they should,” in both instances.

I wonder why those in Taguba’s report haven’t been charged.

At least the DOJ finally claimed/acknowledged jurisdiction over them. Although to a certain (impractical) extent it would have been poetic and politic to see them turned over to the Iraqi judicial system.

Has the DOJ been working with the military in terms of questioning suspects and witnesses?

The understanding I am getting is that the military is working little fish in order to get big fish (thus the special as opposed to general court martial leading the way, although it would be wonderful if a military lawyer could give us more info on the difference).

If that is the case the DOJ might be waiting to see what comes out of the courts martial of the soldiers and NCO’s. Although IIRC while Gen. Karpinski has denied knowledge and laid the blame at the feet of the contractors, Col. Pappas has said that proper chains of command were followed.

I notice your earlier thread on this subject has sunk into oblivion already… :frowning:

Why doesn’t anyone care about this?!!!

More info and questions:


Here’s that New Yorker article from last year (!):


Well, I was told that there are some hard-boiled mercs who just want to take on members of al-Qaida one-on-one, like GI Joe vs Cobra.

[annaplurabelle Forgive me for the comment, but in the quoted article, the passage:

is quite misleading; the Sheikh Yassin was the political/religious leader of an organization with very strong ties to terrorism (if not a terrorist organization glazed over with other attributes); I don´t condone in any shape or form what Israel did in that instance, but fair is fair and phrasing the episode in those terms shows a large bias.

-End of hijack

Amazingly too kind of you. Th OP of that one’s cumbersome and poorly written. Can’t really blame anyone for not responding.

from November 2000

Closing the Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Gap
Holding Civilians Accountable for Felony Crimes Committed Overseas
While Supporting the U.S. Military

Department of Defense (DOD) civilians working overseas can literally get away with murder. (Reid v. Covert, 1957) A woman axe-murdered her husband; an Air Force civilian raped a 12-year old girl; and a DOD school teacher molested a minor and videotaped the event. (Reid v. Covert, 1957; Haug, 2000; H.R.3380, 2000) These are just a few examples of serious criminal offenses committed outside the United States and not prosecuted because the host nation declined to prosecute. There was no recourse within the American legal system. Prosecution by U.S. authorities was not possible due to jurisdictional gaps in federal law

Averette, a contractor employed by the Army during Vietnam, was tried by a military tribunal and found guilty of black market activities. On appeal to the U.S. Military Court of Appeals, it was affirmed that U.C.M.J. jurisdiction over civilians is restricted to persons accompanying the military “in times of war.” In times of war, as defined in the law, was ruled to mean a Congressionally declared war. (U.S. v. Averette, 1970; M.C.M., 1995)

Beginning in 1957, a series of Supreme Court cases starting with Reid v. Covert, challenged the constitutionality of the civilian provisions of Section 802 of the U.C.M.J. The Supreme Court declared Article 2(11) unconstitutional, as it pertains to civilians serving with, employed by, or accompanying the armed forces overseas. Under the U.S. Constitution only civil courts of law have the authority to try civilians for offenses against the United States. In Reid v. Covert, the Supreme Court ruled, “When the U.S. acts against its citizens abroad, it can do so only in accordance with all the limitations imposed by the Constitution, including Art. III, § 2, and the Fifth and Sixth Amendments.” (Reid v. Covert, 1957). “The power of Congress under Art. I, § 8, cl. 14, of the Constitution, ‘To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces,’ taken in conjunction with the Necessary and Proper Clause, does not extend to civilians - even though they may be dependents living with servicemen on a military base.” (Reid v. Covert, 1957)

Now we have MEJA
In some cases, (but not all), American contractors and employees may become legally liable for their actions under the purview of The Military and Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act. If such a case were to occur, the Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld himself’d have to designate and authorize someone in a law enforcement position in the DoD, to make the arrest.

Thanks for the info. But does Executive Order 13303 have any bearing on this? Would it exempt the civilian contractors from prosecution under MEJA? I can’t make out from what I’ve read so far.

Ale: I don’t know anything about the author of that first cite, much less his political bias re Israel, but it didn’t seem relevant to the broader questions about the use of these special forces and tactics by the US. I think the questions are valid regardless.

Okay, found this at findlaw:

Also notes that MEJA is as yet untested. Doesn’t sound too promising, does it?

There’s also alot of unsavory mercenaries from the old South African apartheid regime signed up with British security firms. I’ll dig up a cite.

I’ve heard that there’re about 1500 SA in Iraq. Ive only seen evidence that two of them were associated with Apartheid era human rights abuses, murder etc. Francois Strydom and Deon Gouws.

All SA employed by prciavte security firms deployed outside of SA are criminals though. SA has law agin being a member of a private security force. Some of the SAs in Iraq won’t be able to go home for fear of prosecution.