The UK subsidiary of a company that provided interrogators at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq will be running the next Scottish census. The company - CACI - will be involved in an official census rehearsal being held at the end of March in the west of Edinburgh and in Lewis and Harris. Don't let them get away with it.
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 West Edinburgh Census rehearsal will be in areas with postcodes beginning with
EH11 1, EH11 2, EH11 3, EH11 4, EH12 5, EH12 6, EH12 7, EH12 8, EH12 9, and EH14 4
The Lewis and Harris Census rehearsal will be in areas with postcodes beginning with
HS1 2, HS2 0, HS2 9, HS3 3 and HS5 3
Participation in the rehearsal is voluntary, although participation inthe full census scheduled for 2011 is expected to be compulsory
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.
It's completely unacceptable that Scottish taxpayers are being asked to support a company that has been involved in shameful human rights abuses and is trying to use its status as a military contractor to duck accountability in US courts.
It isn't too late for the Scottish Government to cancel the contract. It must do so immediately.
What You Can Do
- REFUSE to take any part in the census rehearsal being held on 29 March 2009 - spread the word
- Please distribute leaflets about CACI and the census (especially in the rehearsal areas). For a supply of leaflets contact Scotland Against Criminalising Communities www.sacc.org.uk/contact
- Sign the online petition www.sacc.org.uk/census
- Campaign updates will be posted regularly at www.sacc.org.uk/censusinfo (The leaflet can be downloaded from there as a pdf document)
- SACC condemns award of census contract to subsidiary of "Abu Ghraib" firm - SACC statement, 4 September 2008
- CACI faces curbs in Scotland and legal action in US SACC statement, 11 February 2009 - A US Appeals Court has been asked to consider whether torture victims abused in Abu Ghraib prison can bring legal proceedings CACI. And the Scottish Government has re-structured the contract for the census to prevent CACI from obtaining access to personal data about Sottish households
- Corporations and torture at Abu Ghraib - Background from the Center for Constitutional Rights.