[Marxism] 251 Guilty Verdicts - the Highest Rank a Captain
Brian_Shannon at verizon.net
Thu Mar 23 07:04:03 MST 2006
The ruling of Colonel James Pohl that the actions of superiors “did
not have any direct bearing on the reservists’ conduct” shows how the
structuring of these cases is designed to exclude testimony from
Colonel Pappas is the useful barrier to addressing superior officers.
He accepts partial responsibility, but says that the orders to him
were clear. Unfortunately, he neglected to properly supervise the
lower ranks, who should have known better in any case.
Another element are the charges themselves. Not mentioned here is
that Sgt. Smith was acquitted in the incident where the unmuzzled
dogs actually caused wounds, but that he was convicted where it could
be shown that he and Cardona (co-defendant who will be tried
separately) enjoyed their torture, even though in that incident there
was no physical trauma.
This goes back to the original torture memos crafted by now Attorney
General Gonzales and others. You can create pain in the prisoners by
means that include organ failure, even death, so long as your mind is
pure and you did not do it for private reasons. That is not torture
(at least for the torturer). Since there was no showing that Smith
and Cardona had impure thoughts when they actually used the dogs to
tear flesh, their was no guilt; but when they joked about it and
claimed they had a contest to see if the prisoners would urinate or
defecate, they are sinners and therefore guilty.
An examination of the 251 cases where guilt has been determined would
undoubtedly show the same pattern. When Col. Sassaman’s men killed
dozens during an unjustified search or sent all the members (minus 2
or 3) of a single village to Abu Ghraib, there was no offense, but
when two were forced to swim the Tigris, while the soldiers walked
away, that was clearly an offense (one died) because it couldn’t be
related to an ongoing military purpose. http://makeashorterlink.com/?
March 23, 2006
Iraq Abuse Trial Is Again Limited to Lower Ranks
By ERIC SCHMITT, NYTimes
With the conviction on Tuesday of an Army dog handler, the military
has now tried and found guilty another low-ranking soldier in
connection with the pattern of abuses that first surfaced two years
ago at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
But once again, an attempt by defense lawyers to point a finger of
responsibility at higher-ranking officers failed in the latest case
to convince a military jury that ultimate responsibility for the
abuses lay farther up the chain of command.
. . .
Among all the abuse cases that have reached military courts, the
trial of the dog handler, Sgt. Michael J. Smith, had appeared to hold
the greatest potential to assign accountability to high-ranking
military and perhaps even civilian officials in Washington. Some
military experts had thought the trial might finally explore the
origins of the harsh interrogation techniques that were used at Abu
Ghraib; at the Bagram detention center in Afghanistan; and at other
sites where abuses occurred.
. . .
Previous defendants who have tried and failed to win approval from
military judges to summon high-ranking officers to explain their own
role in abuse cases include Charles A. Graner Jr. and Lynndie R.
England, two of the Army reservists who were convicted in 2005 for
their misconduct at Abu Ghraib. In denying defense requests for
testimony from witnesses including Mr. Rumsfeld and Lt. Gen. Ricardo
Sanchez, formerly the top American commander in Iraq, an Army judge,
Col. James Pohl, ruled that their actions did not have any direct
bearing on the reservists’ conduct.
In a telephone interview on Wednesday, Maj. Wayne Marotto, an Army
spokesman, said that more than 600 accusations of detainee abuse in
Iraq and Afghanistan since October 2001 had been investigated, and
that 251 officers and enlisted soldiers had been punished in some way
for misconduct related to prisoners. To date, the highest-ranking
officer convicted in relation to the abuses is Capt. Shawn Martin of
the Army, who was found guilty last March of kicking detainees and
staging the mock execution of a prisoner. He was sentenced to 45 days
in jail and fined $12,000.
. . .
Several generals and colonels have received career-ending reprimands
and have been stripped of their commands, but there is no indication
that other senior-level officers and civilian officials will ever be
held accountable for the detainee abuses that took place in Iraq and
. . .
Congress has largely retreated from any meaningful effort to hold
senior officials accountable. Last year, Senator John W. Warner, a
Virginia Republican who heads the Armed Services Committee, vowed to
hold hearings on senior-level accountability. But Mr. Warner later
backed off his promise, saying it would have to wait until judicial
and nonjudicial proceedings were exhausted, a process that could take
several more months.
The Senate Armed Services Committee has delayed General Miller’s
scheduled retirement, and Mr. Warner said in an interview on Tuesday
that he would call both Colonel Pappas and General Miller to testify
before the committee once all court proceedings that could involve
them are complete.
Two other cases may yield new information. Army officials are still
reviewing a possible criminal case against Lt. Col. Steven L. Jordan,
another former senior intelligence officer at Abu Ghraib.
The trial of a second dog handler, Sgt. Santos A. Cardona, is
scheduled to begin on May 22, and it may offer another occasion for
defense lawyers to try to direct blame at higher levels. Sergeant
Cardona’s lawyer, Harvey Volzer, said in a telephone interview on
Wednesday that his defense would include information not revealed in
Sergeant Smith’s trial. Mr. Volzer said he would seek to have Mr.
Rumsfeld, Gen. John P. Abizaid, the commander of American forces in
the Mideast, and General Sanchez all testify at Sergeant Cardona’s
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