Even I have my limits

Mar.20, 2009, filed under Miscellany

CACI International is a US-based defence contractor. From August 2003 until the early autumn of 2005 it was contracted to provide “interrogation services” for the US Army at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. While CACI staff were employed as interrogators at Abu Ghraib, prisoners were humiliated and tortured there by US military police. Photographs of the abuse shocked the world and led to the conviction of a number of low-ranking US soldiers by courts martial.

CACI denies any responsibility for the abuse that was photographed and denies some other allegations of abuse. But it is trying to block lawsuits brought against it by former Abu Ghraib prisoners by claiming “official immunity”.

CACI staff interrogated people held without charge or trial at Abu Ghraib. Prisoners they questioned were deprived of human rights guaranteed in international norms. The “rules of engagement” at Abu Ghraib permitted sleep deprivation, sensory deprivation and intimidation by dogs.

The next Scottish census will be run by CACI Ltd. CACI Ltd has been given an £18.5 million contract for key information technology work and other services for the 2011 Scottish Census. CACI Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary of CACI International. That means that all the money it makes belongs to CACI International. But CACI International remains beyond the reach of Scottish and British law.

A REHEARSAL for the census will be held on 29 March 2009 in the west of Edinburgh and in Lewis and Harris. Participation in the rehearsal is optional.

The Scottish Government says it “understands the views” of people who have written to it about the contract. It says it has set up a new “contract structure” to “distance” CACI from personal data collected by the census. But it refuses to cancel the contract.

I personally find it unacceptable that Scottish taxpayers are being asked to support a company that has been involved in human rights abuses and, more importantly in my mind, is trying to use its status as a military contractor to shirk accountability. However you feel about the necessity of ignoring human rights for the greater good, and that’s a point of view I can understand even if I don’t necessarily agree with it, if such actions are required and needed then the perpetrator should have the balls to stand up and defend his actions rather than hiding behind some label of “official immunity” like a spunkless coward.

It isn’t too late for the Scottish Government to cancel the contract.

If you feel similarly about this issue, here is what you could do:

 1. Sign the online petition
 2. REFUSE to take any part in the census rehearsal being held on 29 March 2009

You can read all about it here, although I’ve mostly copied and pasted from that webpage.

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