Skip to comments.(Abu Ghraib) Torture? Not if cheerleaders do it, lawyer claims
Posted on 01/10/2005 5:15:43 PM PST by mhking
Forcing naked Iraqi prisoners to pile themselves in human pyramids was not torture, because American cheerleaders do it every year, a court was told today.
A lawyer defending Specialist Charles Graner, who is accused of being a ringleader in the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal, argued that piling naked prisoners in pyramids was a valid form of prisoner control.
"Dont cheerleaders all over America form pyramids six to eight times a year. Is that torture?" said Guy Womack, Sergeant Graners lawyer, in opening arguments to the ten-member military jury at the reservists court martial.
Sergeant Graner and Private Lynndie England, with whom he fathered a child and who is also facing a court-martial, became the faces of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal after they appeared in photographs that showed degraded, naked prisoners.
The prosecution showed some of those pictures in their opening argument, including one of naked Iraqi men piled on each other and another of Ms England holding a crawling naked Iraqi man on a leash.
Mr Womack said that using a tether was a valid method of controlling detainees. "Youre keeping control of them. A tether is a valid control to be used in corrections," he said.
Pictures of the humiliating treatment of the prisoners at the prison outside Baghdad prompted outrage around the world, and further eroded the credibility of the United States, already damaged in many countries by the 2003 Iraq invasion.
Apart from arguing that the methods were not illegal, Graners defence is that he was following orders from superiors. Mr Womack said: "He was doing his job. Following orders and being praised for it."
The chief prosecutor, Major Michael Holley, asked rhetorically,"Did the accused honestly believe that was a lawful order?"
The Bush Administration has said that the actions were those of a small group and were not part of a policy or condoned by senior officers.
But investigations have shown that many prisoners in Iraq, Afghanistan and at the US Navy base at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba also suffered abusive treatment after the Government considered ways to obtain information in the war against terrorism.
The trial of Sergeant Graner, a 36-year-old former Pennsylvania civilian prison guard who chatted and joked with his defence team before the hearing opened, was expected to last at least a week.
He faces up to 17 years in prison on charges that include mistreating detainees, dereliction of duty and assault. He has pleaded not guilty.
Four of seven accused members of Sergeant Graners unit have already pleaded guilty to abuse charges and three have been sentenced to prison.
Meanwhile the first court martial of a British soldier accused of mistreating Iraqi prisoners was getting under way today at a military base in western Germany.
Fusilier Gary Bartlam, 20, who serves with the 1st Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, is accused of the ill-treatment of Iraqis detained by British forces in May, 2003.
Evidence about the alleged assaults and indecent assaults of the Iraqis were heard at a court martial taking place at a British Army base in Hohne, Germany.
Judge Advocate Michael Hunter banned any further reporting of the details of the hearing for legal reasons.
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I wonder if we could get the Dallas Cowboy chearleaders to make a pyrmamid nude?
It isn't torture because it isn't torture. Humiliating and degrading prisoners may be wrong (it is certainly wrong when done merely for the entertainment of the jailers). It may be criminal (ditto). For the sake of argument let's even say that it's as bad as torture.
But it's still not torture. Torture is a different thing.
Don't forget "by force"... [g]
Panties on the head--people pay for this stuff.
Geez, where did he get this "intellect" of a lawyer?
"Dont cheerleaders all over America form pyramids six to eight times a year. Is that torture?"
not if I'm on the bottom of said pile>:)
I haven't see a single case of torture coming out of Abu Ghraib or anywhere else. Am I missing something?
I give it to Womack for chutzpah!
Well, if we're talking about the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders, I'd gladly volunteer to be on the bottom.
Torture is watching one of our soldiers get eaten alive by leftists in our own military.
Your missing that the military is willing to try our soldiers instead of standing up to the traitorous leftist scum.
Where the hell are the pictures of the cheerleaders?!
I wonder what little gems Ramsey Clark will come up with while defending Saddam? Will Jenny Booth write a sneering article about that? (rhetorical
Panties on the head... is this not a form of politcally correct cross dressing...
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