July 31, 2011 -- Three individuals involved in blowing the whistle at an early stage on the systematic torture and abuse of Iraqi detainees at the outset of the U.S. occupation of Iraq plan to file suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against senior political and military officials in the Bush administration. Named in the lawsuit will be former Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and top U.S. military commanders of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The plaintiffs include retired Sgt. Frank Greg Ford, who served with the 223rd Military Intelligence Battalion in Iraq and who was unceremoniously removed from Iraq in 2003, strapped to a gurney, after he cited several cases of prisoner abuse in Iraq. Ford was one of the first U.S. military members to report prisoner abuse at detention facilities in Iraq. His reports of prisoner abuse resulted in a determination by his senior officers that he was not fit for service in Iraq and he was detained and flown out of Iraq to a U.S. military hospital in Germany after leveling charges of prisoner torture, including witnessing U.S. troops forcing lit cigarettes into the ears of teenage Iraqi boys.
Ford will reportedly be joined in the lawsuit by retired Army officer Janis Karpinski, the former commander of the 800 Military Police Brigade, which had cognizance over U.S. military detention facilities in Iraq, including the now-infamous Abu Ghraib prison, the scene of repeated acts of prisoner abuse and torture. A number of Army enlisted personnel were sentenced to prison as a result of the torture scandal, however, it is alleged that the U.S. military personnel were following orders from senior officials of the Bush administration. Karpinski was reduced to the rank of colonel as a result of the Army's investigation, however, she contends, with the support of other senior U.S. military officers, that she had no access to the wing of Abu Ghraib, which was under the strict control of military intelligence and the CIA, where the prisoner abuse was taking place.
Also reportedly joining the lawsuit is Stanford University professor emeritus Philip Zimbardo, a former president of the American Psychological Association, who has conducted pioneering research, including the Stanford Prison Experiment, which examined the effects of torture on prisoners.
The lawsuit against the Bush administration officials is expected to be filed in September.
A large list of defendants and witnesses is being developed by the plaintiffs' legal team. Former President George W. Bush may also be called to testify in the trial. There is a precedent for testimony by former presidents. In 1992, former President Ronald Reagan was called to testify before Iran-contra special prosecutor Lawrence Walsh on his knowledge of the Iran-contra scandal....