Abu Ghraib Hearings Underway - Karpinski Must Testify

Pretrial hearings are underway today at Fort Hood for soldiers accused of humiliating and assaulting prisoners at Abu Ghraib. Among those involved: Sabrina Harman and Javal Davis.

The Judge ordered Brig. Gen. Janice Karpinski, the former commander of U.S. prisons in Iraq, to testify about conditions at Abu Ghraib and about interaction between guards and military interrogators at Javal Davis' hearing:

Charges against Davis, a native of Roselle, N.J., include conspiracy to maltreat detainees, assault, dereliction of duty for failing to protect detainees from abuse and lying in official statements. He has acknowledged stepping on the fingers and toes of detainees, but denied hurting anyone.

Davis says the military officials condoned the abuse. Karpinski says she's been made the fall guy.

Davis told investigators that military intelligence personnel appeared to approve of the abuse. "We were told they had different rules," he told investigators, according to an Army report. Karpinski has denied knowing about any mistreatment of prisoners until photographs were made public at the end of April showing hooded and naked prisoners being tormented by their U.S. captors.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Karpinski said a "conspiracy" among top U.S. commanders left her to blame for the abuses at Abu Ghraib. A report issued by an independent panel of nongovernment experts blamed Karpinski for leadership failures that "helped set the conditions at the prison which led to the abuses."

As to Sabrina Harman,

Harman, of Lorton, Va., is accused of photographing some of the abuse, participating in sexual humiliation of naked prisoners, writing "rapist" on the leg of a detainee who then was forced to pose naked with other prisoners, and placing wires in the hands of a detainee and telling him he would be electrocuted if he fell off a box. She was photographed standing behind naked, hooded Iraqis stacked in a human pyramid and also shown next to a dead body packed in ice giving thumbs-up signs with Spc. Charles Graner Jr.

Our prior coverage of Harman is here and here.

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