Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Judge Rejects England Guilty Plea

In a blow to BushCorp™'s efforts to scapegoat low level soldiers for the pervasive lawlessness encouraged by its pro-torture attitude, a military judge rejected Lynndie England's plea bargain agreement.

Ms. England, the belle of Abu Ghraib, had agreed to plead guilty to seven of the nine charges against her in return for reduced sentencing. But the judge reviewing the case felt that the testimony given on her behalf more closely aligned with innocence, i.e. that given the prevailing attitude at Abu Ghraib Ms. England may have been acting in good faith and in accordance with a reasonable understanding of military procedure.

The judge, Col. James L. Pohl, had expressed skepticism about England's plea since the proceeding began Monday. His decision to stop it followed testimony Wednesday morning from a former Abu Ghraib prison guard, Pvt. Charles Graner.

Graner, a civilian corrections officer before joining the military, said that the widely circulated photo of England holding a naked prisoner on a leash was not abuse, but rather a standard method guards use to control unruly prisoners. He said taking photos to "document" prison incidents is also an approved technique. [Emphasis mine]
Judge Pohl, has, in effect, opened the possibility that, for the troops on the ground in Abu Ghraib, the behavior seen in the famous photos might have been reasonable in light of the, um, relaxed, attitudes toward torture evidenced up and down the chain of command, up to and including the White House.

I can hear the wingnut diatribes already. Heavens! Judicial activists have even invaded the military!

This is a story to watch.

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