Anti-war organisation ‘Shannonwatch’ has said that the 2011 census, taking place across the 26 Counties on April 10th, is being managed by a company accused of committing torture, war crimes and civil conspiracy in Iraq.
It said that CACI, which was awarded a six million ound contract to process the next 26-County Census, is a military contractor that became notorious for human rights abuses committed at Abu Ghraib and other prisons in Iraq.
Four years ago, hundreds of torture victims filed a complaint against CACI in a US federal court. The complaint alleged that they were threatened with rape and harm to their family members, stripped naked, kept naked in their cells, chained and handcuffed to the bars of their cells, subjected to electric shock, subjected to extreme heat and cold, attacked by unmuzzled dogs, subjected to serious pain inflicted on sensitive body parts, kicked, beaten and more.
According to the Shannonwatch blog, the case charges CACI with torture and other “heinous and illegal acts” committed against Iraqi detainees while their contractors were “providing interrogation and translation services at detention facilities in Iraq, including Abu Ghraib”.
“This is not the type of company that should be gathering census data in Ireland - or anywhere for that matter,” the group said. Serious questions need to be asked about why CACI was awarded the census contract in Ireland.
“As the Central Statistics Office (CSO) is an independent Office under the aegis of the Taoiseach, Shannonwatch calls on Enda Kenny to immediately review and revoke the census contract.
“With such serious allegations pending against the company it is hugely inappropriate and insulting to the victims of torture in Iraq to have them profit from government business in Ireland.”
Sinn Fein spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Trade, Padraig MacLochlainn TD has expressed serious concern at the report.
“The Central Statistics Office needs to clarify why a company who provided interrogation staff to the notorious prison is now associated with this important national survey,” he said.
“The CSO also needs to address concerns that personal data collected by CACI may be accessible to the US government in accordance with the US Patriot Act.”
CACI International is a US-based company and subject to the US Patriot Act.
“Ireland is internationally respected for our work in the areas of human rights and peacekeeping,” said Mr MacLochlainn. “The fact that the CSO, which is answerable to the Department of the Taoiseach, would award a multi-million euro contract to a company involved in such activities is deeply damaging”.