|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
JUNE 9, 2004
|CONTACT: Center for Constitutional Rights
David Lerner (917) 612-5657
Mahdis Keshavarz (425) 591-878
Shonna Carter (212) 260-5000
Jen Nessel (212) 614-6449
Maite Bishop (215) 772-7574
Lawsuit Charges Two U.S. Corporations Conspired with U.S. Officials to Torture and Abuse Detainees in Iraq
WASHINGTON - June 9 - Two U.S. corporations conspired with U.S. officials to humiliate, torture and abuse persons detained by U.S. authorities in Iraq according to a class action lawsuit filed today by the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and the Philadelphia law firm of Montgomery, McCracken, Walker and Rhoads.
The suit, which will be filed in federal court in San Diego, names as defendants the Titan Corporation of San Diego, California and CACI International of Arlington, Virginia and its subsidiaries and 3 individuals who work for the companies. It charges them with violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) alleging that the companies engaged in a wide range of heinous and illegal acts in order to demonstrate their abilities to obtain intelligence from detainees, and thereby obtain more contracts from the government.
The lawsuit charges that three individual defendants, Stephen Stephanowicz and John Israel of CACI, Inc. and Adel Nakla of Titan, directed and participated in illegal conduct at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. Further it alleges that CACI International and Titan created a joint enterprise with a third party that became known as Team Titan. The joint enterprise was hired by the U.S. to provide interrogation services in Iraq.
The action also brings claims under the Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA) and the 8th, 5th, and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution as well as other U.S. and international laws.
According to the Complaint, the plaintiffs in the case suffered at the hands of Defendants and their co-conspiring government officials. Plaintiffs endured the following:
We believe that CACI and Titan engaged in a conspiracy to torture and abuse detainees, and did so to make more money, said Susan Burke of Montgomery, McCracken, Walker and Rhodes, and an attorney for the plaintiffs. It is patently clear that these corporations saw an opportunity to build their businesses by proving they could extract information from detainees in Iraq and on Guantanamo, by any means necessary. In doing so they not only violated a raft of domestic and international statutes but diminished Americas stature and reputation around the world.
CACI and TITAN are publicly traded corporations that provide interrogation and translation services to U.S. government agencies. According to the complaint, beginning in January 2002, and continuing to the present, the two companies began providing services ranging from interrogation and interpretation to intelligence gathering and security. The complaint reveals that both companies were increasingly dependent on government contracts for revenue. Titan, for example, developed a unit known as National Security Solutions, which added 21 percent to its revenue growth in 2003.
Jeffrey E. Fogel, Legal Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, said CACI and Titan perpetrated brutal human rights abuses to obtain information, a practice that is not only barbaric but leads to false confessions. The modern way to describe this is outsourcing torture; in the old days wed call these people mercenaries.
Barbara Olshansky, Deputy Legal Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, said that there is no excuse for delaying an investigation into the actions of corporations acting overseas on behalf of our government. Those involved in these horrible human rights abuses must be immediately called to account for their immoral and illegal actions.
Shereef Hadi Akeel of Melamed, Dailey & Akeel, said America is about accountability, and this lawsuit is intended to hold those who are responsible for the wrongs they committed against our clients.
Also representing the plaintiffs in this action are: attorneys Michael Ratner, Jennifer Green and Judith Chomsky and human rights fellow Steven Watt of the Center for Constitutional Rights, and Joyce S. Meyers of Montgomery, McCracken
For copies of the complaint contact Montgomery McCracken at (215) 772-7514 or visit the CCR website at www.ccr-ny.org.