A U.S. citizen and Army veteran with a horrific tale of abuse in Iraq can keep pursuing his case against former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and others, a federal judge has ruled.
In a pointedly detailed 47-page opinion, U.S. District Judge James Gwinn declined the Justice Department's bid to dismiss the complaint filed by a man known only as John Doe. Though the facts have not been tried, the alleged abuses are serious enough to overcome Rumsfeld's invocation of qualified immunity. Noted Gwinn, in the decision issued Tuesday:
"...a reasonable federal official would have understood conscience-shocking physical and psychological mistreatment—including temperature, sleep, food, and light manipulation—of a United States citizen detainee to violate the detainee’s constitutional right to substantive due process."
The individual known as John Doe had been working as a civilian translator for U.S. Marine Corps intelligence-gathering efforts in 2005. For reasons that are not immediately obvious, but which presumably related to suspicions about dual loyalties, investigators seized Doe and tossed him into jail at Camp Cropper for nine months. There, he claims, guards...
exposed him to extreme cold and continuous artificial light, blindfolded and hooded him, woke him by banging on a door or slamming a window whenever they observed Doe trying to sleep, and blasted heavy metal or country music into his cell at intolerable volumes.
Doe was eventually cut loose without being charged with a crime, but he reportedly remains on a U.S. government watch list.