Sunday, June 13, 2004

She's Got a Little List. She's Got a Little List! 

Hats off to Lynndie England's legal team: they appear to be smart, aggressive, fearless, and best of all -- if the second item below pans out -- lucky. But first things first. From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
Defense attorneys preparing for Pfc. Lynndie England's upcoming hearing on charges she abused detainees at Abu Ghraib prison have compiled a list of 100 potential witnesses stretching from the halls of power in Washington, D.C., to the sand-swept vistas of Iraq.

By putting top government officials like Vice President Dick Cheney on their witness list, England's attorneys are serving notice that in defending their client, they will attempt to put on trial the Bush administration's policies on intelligence gathering from detainees. Like most other military police reservists charged in the abuse scandal, England has claimed military intelligence officers ordered the MPs to "soften up" the detainees prior to interrogations.

However, just because her attorneys want those witnesses doesn't mean that many of them will be on the stand later this month at England's Article 32 hearing in Fort Bragg, N.C. That's because a military investigating officer, the presiding authority at the Article 32 hearing, will decide which witnesses are most relevant . . . .

Given that, it would seem highly unlikely that the most prominent names listed will be asked to take the witness stand at England's hearing, tentatively scheduled for June 22.

The wished-for witness list, obtained by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, includes, in addition to Cheney, other high-ranking officials such as Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and Defense Undersecretary for Intelligence Stephen Cambone; Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, and other high-ranking Army officers; White House General Counsel Alberto Gonzales; and Justice Department officials.
Now, some free legal advice: if the presiding officer needs a little help in deciding which of the higher-ups are "most relevant" to Pfc. England's case, Lynndie's lawyers should not hesitate to direct his attention to the following item from today's Sunday Telegraph:
New evidence that the physical abuse of detainees in Iraq and at Guantanamo Bay was authorised at the top of the Bush administration will emerge in Washington this week, adding further to pressure on the White House.

The Telegraph understands that four confidential Red Cross documents implicating senior Pentagon civilians in the Abu Ghraib scandal have been passed to an American television network, which is preparing to make them public shortly.

According to lawyers familiar with the Red Cross reports, they will contradict previous testimony by senior Pentagon officials who have claimed that the abuse in the Abu Ghraib prison was an isolated incident.

"There are some extremely damaging documents around, which link senior figures to the abuses," said Scott Horton, the former chairman of the New York Bar Association, who has been advising Pentagon lawyers unhappy at the administration's approach. "The biggest bombs in this case have yet to be dropped."
The Lynndie link above is taken from an excellent post by Xan -- a welcome fifth at the Blog of Four, Corrente -- who speculates that news of smaller outrages at Abu Ghraib (soldiers cavorting with prostitutes, etc.) is being gradually and deliberately leaked in order to inoculate the public against the larger outrages yet to come (soldiers raping female detainees).

Although it's hard to imagine that any level of outrage fatigue would blunt the horror of the kiddie photos, when and if they come to light.

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