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Abu Ghraib Lawyers Want Cheney On Stand: Prison MPs Ran Prostitution + Liquor Ring

The fifth day of military hearings for Pfc. Lynndie England on charges connected to the abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad included a defense request for Vice President Dick Cheney to appear as a witness.

Witnesses, more than 25 for England's hearing alone, have described a prison in chaos, where the military police even ran a prostitution and liquor ring. Soldiers often did not know who was in charge or how they were supposed to treat detainees.
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 http://www.cnn.com/2004/LAW/08/07/lynndie.england.hearing/

Abu Ghraib lawyers want Cheney on stand

Hearing for England adjourns indefinitely

Saturday, August 7, 2004 Posted: 7:39 PM EDT (2339 GMT)

FORT BRAGG, North Carolina (CNN) -- The fifth day of military hearings for Pfc. Lynndie England on charges connected to the abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad included a defense request for Vice President Dick Cheney to appear as a witness.

Cheney was among a long wish-list of potential witnesses, which included many of the generals involved with the prison. Defense lawyers did not explain in open court Saturday why they want Cheney's testimony.

The hearing officer, Col. Denise Arn, said she will study the request but gave no indication when or how she might rule.

The hearing was adjourned, and Arn set no date for when it might resume. England's lawyers speculated that the hearing might reconvene in a month.

The defense is known to be seeking to compel testimony by a former Army reservist who has told investigators and reporters that military intelligence agents helped instigate the abuses.

Sgt. Kenneth Davis of Hagerstown, Maryland, told The Associated Press on Friday that he reported the intelligence agents to his own platoon leader. According to the AP, Davis said 1st Lt. Lewis Raeder replied, "They are [military intelligence] and they are in charge. Let them do their job."

Defense lawyers have contended that England and the other guards facing charges were following orders from military intelligence.

In all, seven soldiers have been charged in connection with abuses at Abu Ghraib. The seven are from the 372nd Military Police Company, a unit of reservists based near Cumberland, Maryland.

Spc. Israel Rivera, an intelligence analyst, testified in the England hearing Thursday that two of his colleagues took part in the abuse the night three detainees suspected of rape were stripped naked and twisted into a tangle of limbs and torsos on the cellblock floor.

By the AP's account, Davis saw what happened that night and said the other two intelligence agents went well beyond what Rivera told the court. Davis said the men, Spc. Armin Cruz and Spc. Roman Krol, had forced the suspects to crawl naked across the floor. Rivera had testified the prison guards did that.

No military intelligence personnel have been charged in connection with the abuses at Abu Ghraib. But Cruz and Rivera have been named publicly as people under investigation.

The incident in which the intelligence agents are alleged to have been involved happened either October 24 or 25 -- the earliest documented date of the abuses that took place at Abu Ghraib last fall.

Arn has not said whether Davis will be required to testify.

Proceedings for England, charged with 19 counts in connection with the abuses, had been scheduled to conclude Friday but were delayed because a key witness was temporarily unavailable.

Prosecutors wanted to call Pvt. Jeremy Sivits, the only one of the seven guards charged to plead guilty. Sivits is serving a one-year sentence in military prison and is being moved from Germany to a lockup at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, not far from Fort Bragg. He had not yet arrived when the court called for his testimony Friday.

England's attorneys have asked Arn for permission to call a number of high-ranking officers who have had some role in oversight or investigation of Abu Ghraib.

The requested witnesses by the defense include:

Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, commander of U.S. troops during the Iraq war

Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, overseer of all prisons in Iraq and former commander at the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba

Maj. Gen. George Fay, in charge of a Pentagon investigation of Abu Ghraib

Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, who commanded the Military Police brigade running Abu Ghraib at the time of the incidents. She removed from that duty after being reprimanded.

None of the ranking generals has been required to testify in any of the other prison abuse cases. Most observers think it unlikely they will be ordered to appear in this one.

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 http://www.iht.com/articles/533124.html

Testimony fails to back GIs' defense on abuses

Kate Zernike The New York Times
Monday, August 09, 2004


FORT BRAGG, North Carolina In the three months since photographs of detainees in sexually humiliating positions triggered the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal, the soldiers charged with mistreatment have defended themselves by saying they were simply following orders.

But as of the end of testimony here on Friday in a military hearing for Private First Class Lynndie England - the last, the longest and the most closely watched of the proceedings to determine whether the seven soldiers should be court-martialed - there have been no witnesses and no evidence to back up that central assertion.

Witnesses, more than 25 for England's hearing alone, have described a prison in chaos, where the military police even ran a prostitution and liquor ring. Soldiers often did not know who was in charge or how they were supposed to treat detainees.

Prisoners were left naked for long periods as punishment and were at least occasionally abused, in one case leading to a death from what investigators called trauma to the head.

Yet no one has said there were direct orders to carry out the treatment seen in photos, or even, as England has told investigators, that the military police soldiers were encouraged to "keep it up" to produce better interrogations. "To my knowledge, ma'am, they were never ordered to do anything," Specialist Joseph Darby, the soldier who first turned in the photos, replied to a question Friday. Others said the treatment in the pictures, including forcing prisoners to masturbate and piling naked detainees in a pyramid, would never be allowed under any stretch of the rules.

But other testimony has contradicted the government's argument that the abuses were solely the work of seven rogue soldiers. Witnesses have described varying degrees of mistreatment or sexual humiliation committed by soldiers beyond the group accused. Some testimony has included the assertion that high-ranking officers, including Colonel Thomas Pappas, the chief intelligence officer at the prison, knew about the improper use of dogs, as well as some abuses, including the death.

The testimony also leaves unclear what the rules were for interrogations and how harsh the treatment was. One soldier, Staff Sergeant Christopher Ward, testifying about detainees being left naked, said it was his "perception" that military intelligence "was trying to create an uncomfortable environment to try to facilitate their interrogations."

According to other testimony, Major General Geoffrey Miller, who came to Abu Ghraib in August to improve interrogations, said the military police should "set the conditions" for military intelligence soldiers doing interrogations. Yet the soldiers did not say that meant harsh treatment of prisoners.

Her lawyers renewed a request that top U.S. government and military officials, including Vice President Dick Cheney and the secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld, be called to testify. A Fort Bragg spokesman said it could be several weeks before the hearing resumed.

address: address: CNN / New York Times / International Herald Tribune