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Defense Crumbles in Charles Graner Prisoner Abuse Trial

Financial Times reports on Charles Graner's defense and says it crumbled today when the Court wouldn't allow the jury to hear from his "expert." According to other foreign news accounts of the trial , Thomas Archambault, a "self-styled prisoner restraint expert" told the judge outside the presence of the jury that Graner used "good foresight" and that the stacking of prisoners was a "creative technique."

A witness at the trial of the alleged Abu Ghraib prison abuse ringleader hailed the stacking up of naked detainees as "a creative technique" and said he too would have photographed it. The strongest testimony in favor of the military policeman was not presented before the jury as the judge ruled after hearing it that it was not relevant.

Thomas Archambault, a self-styled prisoner restraint expert, said Graner, had "used good foresight" in the way he dealt with the detainees. He said piling the naked prisoners on top of each other was "a very creative technique," but admitted it did not appear in any training manual. In questioning the witness, defense lawyer Guy Womack referred to the human stack as "a cheerleader pyramid."

Archambault, who runs a consultancy, said that given the circumstances, he saw nothing wrong with the fact soldiers took pictures of the naked prisoners. "Based on the stress these soldiers had gone through, a filthy stinking environment and the fact these prisoners killed American soldiers, I think I would have done the same thing," the former police officer said.

According to the Financial Times article, the testimony was rejected because Mr Archambault "admitted that he knew of no manual on detention methods that included using human pyramids>"

Another prison officer told the court that when military intelligence officers told the guards to give "special treatment" to the detainees, they were referring only to "cold showers" and "shouting at them."

I would not be surprised if military intelligence officers did play a role in authorizing the torture. That doesn't save Graner. He has to show that even if such orders were given, he reasonably believed they were lawful. That's a stretch, to put it mildly.

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  • Re: Defense Crumbles in Charles Graner Prisoner Ab (none / 0) (#1)
    by Kitt on Wed Jan 12, 2005 at 07:19:21 PM EST
    So then, Rush was correct. It was just another cheerleading practice thing.

    The powers that be would love to see the "defense crumble" so that Graner et al. are clearly established in the public minds as THE guilty party, rather than the ones who gave them the go-ahead.

    Re: Defense Crumbles in Charles Graner Prisoner Ab (none / 0) (#3)
    by Che's Lounge on Wed Jan 12, 2005 at 07:35:58 PM EST
    What wonderful reading for any moderate muslims (left) in the world. Graner is a recruiting poster boy for the fundamentalist movement. Remember this. It was two weeks after Graner's (aka the US Army) work hit the newsstands that Nick Berg was the first beheading victim in post invasion Iraq. I vas just followink ohdahs! Buck Fush

    On first reading about Graner, I thought he must be uniquely stupid and without conscience. I was wrong. His attorney is every bit his match.

    Re: Defense Crumbles in Charles Graner Prisoner Ab (none / 0) (#6)
    by cp on Wed Jan 12, 2005 at 08:49:12 PM EST
    oop's! my apologies. for some reason, i got the impression womack was a military lawyer, assigned to defend graner. as i now understand it, that is not the case. never mind! lol

    Re: Defense Crumbles in Charles Graner Prisoner Ab (none / 0) (#5)
    by cp on Wed Jan 12, 2005 at 08:51:54 PM EST
    i don't know quaker, i kind of feel sorry for his attorney. though everyone is entitled to a zealous defense, how would you like to be the oh so lucky lawyer tagged by jag to defend this **** i have a feeling, after he was informed of this, the first thing he did was go to the nearest bar, and inhale the contents of a liter of jd black, with a straw. this is not a real good career move on his part. if he's a really, really lucky guy, the next case he gets will be the skipper of the sub that ran aground the other day!

    I wonder if Thomas Archambault would like to be the recipient of Graner's "very creative technique".

    So what Guy do we rape today? oh yes prison life!

    And all for - what? Quite possibly, Al-Qaeda does not exist.

    Hey thank you january 13 for, "is al qaeda a bush boogeyman"?, and i don't know if al qeada still is working and if it did or did not exist and we must all ask why have we let our so called government do this evil and how long before its used on all of us? and lets face facts Graner was used by others and he will pay for being a fool. After all we just don't get it, but Graner will understand in prison after a little time. and don't fight for the bush money business called the usa.

    Che's Lounge, What about those guys they hung up on the bridge long before Nick Berg, I suppose they did that because they knew Graner was coming soon. You are a pathetic waste of carbon, aren't you?

    Graner was doomed.. his attorney's opening statement was absurd.

    Sure Dagma. What about them? Could you point out "those guys" in "that pyramid?" Your extrapolations extend to this site, where you project your hate and pointless venom onto commenters here. Your political views clearly take a backseat to your hatred of people and I think you use them just to have a reason to trash people on a site that is the antithesis of your BS opinions. As to calling Che a "pathetic waste of carbon" I thank and commend Che on his/her thoughtful comments and for caring enough to bother with voicing them. Thinking feeling folks take conversations they have here away from the computer and into their extra-cyber lives. Nobody needs to internalize trashy abuse like that, even if they don't care about it. Darma, despite your entertainment value and the opportunity you present to counter the most idiotic and hypocritical right wing moral and political thinking. I'm not going to give you the satisfaction of responding to anything more you say. If you haven't crossed TL's tolerance line yet, you've crossed mine and I hope others will join me in this effort to prevent further abuse by you.

    Re: Defense Crumbles in Charles Graner Prisoner Ab (none / 0) (#14)
    by kdog on Thu Jan 13, 2005 at 08:39:34 AM EST
    Gotta love Dagma, no matter what we do, somebody once did worse, so what we did is ok.

    For some reason I lack the desire to go to a football game. I've never been to one. Apparently, though, at "halftime" the players get their guns, hold the cheerleaders at gunpoint, and force them to strip naked and climb on top of each other to form a human pyramid with their butts pointing toward the TV cameras. Then the players do one or another of their charming little American "pomo" cultural dance moves and beat the naked cheerleaders or smear them with some sort of sticky brown substance, possibly faeces. I'm not sure, but I think that's why they sometimes wear gloves. This is all accompanied by the loud music of a '70s band called Rush Limbaugh, which football dads typically enjoy. Is that about right? If it is, then Graner's lawyer isn't so far wrong, is he.

    Re: Defense Crumbles in Charles Graner Prisoner Ab (none / 0) (#16)
    by Patrick on Thu Jan 13, 2005 at 09:25:56 AM EST
    Perhaps his attorney is crazy like a fox. I smell an IAC appeal comming...Anyone else?

    Perhaps his attorney is crazy like a fox. I smell an IAC appeal comming...Anyone else? After reading the post about the lawyer's "colorful past," I started thinking the exact same thing.

    Just asking.... If those cheerleaders had just been caught outside the stadium blowing up players busses and shooting RPGs at them,... then yes.... all's fair...and that would be "about right".

    b.b.; are you serious? you really think that's how we should punish people who attack americans? because i was under the impression that occupying their country, killing several thousand of them, destroying their infrastructure and utility systems, and jailing their leader was enough... and that doesn't even begin to explain what the iraqi's did to us to begin with. saddam hussein and irag had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11. they only started killing us when we invaded their country. i can hear the typical argument about how cruel saddam was to his own people starting up, but ask yourself this: would you support the treatment of iraqi prisoners depicted in the pictures and statements coming out of abu ghraib and other abuse trials based only on what saddam and his 'police force' did to the people they led? or based only on what the iraqi's have done to defend themselves from an invading nation? what exactly did those specific people in the pyramid do to us that they deserve to be treated that way? btw, if you answer that it doesn't matter if it was those specific people, that all iraqis or all people of islamic faith deserve to be punished, than you are no better than osama's henchmen flying those planes into the world trade center.

    Re: Defense Crumbles in Charles Graner Prisoner Ab (none / 0) (#20)
    by kdog on Thu Jan 13, 2005 at 01:45:25 PM EST
    Regarding "is AQ a bush bogeyman"? I've been thinking the reason Osama hasn't been caught is because our gov't needs him to continue the current agenda. We have already made him out to be worse than Hitler, when he's a small-time, common murderer/terrorist. Our gov't needs a "big bad menace" to justify spending billions on weapons. I hate to believe it's true, but I put nothing past our gov't.

    B.B. writes:
    If those cheerleaders had just been caught outside the stadium blowing up players busses and shooting RPGs at them,... then yes.... all's fair
    First, to follow your logic: IF those PRISONERS had just been caught doing those things to people who weren't an occupying force...then yes all's fair. Since IRAQI so-called Insurgents, who are NOT NECESSARILY TERRORISTS HAVEN'T BEEN CHARGED WITH, much less convicted of with the offenses you mention, THEN HOW CAN ALL BE FAIR??? Assuming, of course as you do (and I don't) that the relevant governing body has a right to deprive you not only of liberty, but of psychological and physical health, the right to the most basic human dignities and needs and life itself.

    If that's the best analogy that right wingers can come up with to justify their salacious self-satisfaction in seeing brown/foreign/Muslim/enemy/insurgent/terrorist (as most of you use these terms interchangeably)men humiliated then it's just not even close to good enough. Cheerleaders should be patently offended.

    Kelite... No, I'm not serious & was only taking the lame football thing to the extreme... however.... You've asked several questions & I'll try to answer them one by one.. First of all, the prisoner picture thing was not punishment, it's a tactic used by the military (not only ours) to soften up prisoners by humiliating them.. in this case... being naked in public is just about the worst thing you can do to a muslim (eating pork would be a close second) I can't get into a lot of detail about your next comments do to space... But we are not occupiers and would probably have already cut our forces down drastically if it weren't for the ongoing insurgent battles. Unfortunately, destroying the infracture is something that is unavoidable in war... we will rebuild it and are doing so as we speak. Killing their leaders has made most of them very happy... only the ones that were protected by Saddam are sad to see him go. I don't have the time or space to try to explain what Iraq did do (or would do) if left alone, but we can get into that of you like. As far as the often repeated phrase .."saddam hussein and irag had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11"... that is still very debatable if for no other reason in that Saddam aided and rewarded terrorists & many were found living in Iraq. See, many people just don't get the fact that this war against terrorists is world wide. The only way we can defeat them is to punish the countries that hide & help them. Saddam had the biggest baddest army in the ME & he had to go first. Then the message should be loud & clear to the rest of them that we mean business... but I digress. They (the Iraqis) are not killing us.. terrorist insurgents that see this as a great opportunity to kill the evil satan are the ones doing the killing. The average Iraqi is very happy we are there but unfortunately the (biased) news only shows you the few hundred that are causing all the trouble & not the millions that are happy to be rid of Saddam. You're got this "defend themselves from an invading nation" thing all wrong. I know Marines that came back & tell a totally different story. Now back to the treatment of prisoners... all is fair in war and if I catch you blowing up tanks.... shooting at my comrads..etc. I'm going to nail you and get any info I can that might save my buddy from that road side bomb tommorrow. That's life and maybe you need to feel the sting of combat to get it?? I'm sure if one of these guys was turned loose and then was responsible for another WTC episode... all of you libs would be screaming about how inept the military was for letting him go & not interrogating him...right? I'm absolutely amazed at the press this prison thing received when their side was cutting of heads!!!! Those stories quickly faded and we are still talking about this crap. I think your real question should be.. "what did those people do to deserve that treatment"? You'll never hear me say that all of Islam is bad.... however, it would be nice if the 'peaceful' ones joined us in this battle and at least tried to get these maniacs to stop their killing. As long as they continue to attack us...we won't be leaving soon... it's not rocket science here. As long as you brought Osama's henchmen up..let me ask you... If the degrading of one prisoner stopped a similar event....wouldn't that be worth it?

    BB - Thanks for your thoughts. However there are so many factual and logical fallicies in what your saying - I have to go now so can't elaborate that it impossible for me to question my own beliefs (which are completely opposite of yours in many cases) using your faulty reasoning. I do appreciate debate and logical discourse, however and your explanation of your thinking.

    I'm absolutely amazed at the press this prison thing received when their side was cutting of heads!!!! Those stories quickly faded and we are still talking about this crap. I think your real question should be.. "what did those people do to deserve that treatment"? b.b. i think if you go back and re-read my post, that was my question. we were attacked on 9/11 by al qaeda. not iraq. our government (our huge, powerful government) can find no credible link between iraq and al qaeda. none. we chose to invade iraq after our intelligence told us that saddam hussein was stockpiling weapons of mass destruction. we have since discovered that there were no weapons of mass destruction and no plans in place to create or purchase any. none. just to clear that up. so now we come to 'spreading freedom' - the reason we are now supposed to believe is behind the iraq war. i did some googling - put in 'human rights saddam hussein' for some good reading - and agree with you that he was a monster and his regime was responsible for unspeakable acts. however, what this has to do with our soldiers impersonation of saddam's henchman is beyond me. we are supposed to be better than them. we are supposed to be spreading freedom and democracy, not crushing insurgency (which literally means 'rebellion against the leadership of a political party' - including democracy) under our boot. 'beaten into submission in the name of the free'? is that our foreign policy?

    "I'm absolutely amazed at the press this prison thing received when their side was cutting of heads!!!! Do you actually think that capital punishment is pretty in ANY form? In Jeb Bush's Florida several men's heads have exploded in flame due to the electrocution amps. Shall we invade Florida? Where's that Andrew Jackson when a genocide needs doing. Oh, yeah, out whacking the brush at his fake rancho. --

    BB: To answer the comments you made would require an essay longer than I am willing to bother with, so I'll pick a few, make my point that you are wrong on so many levels, and leave it at that. First up:
    we are not occupiers and would probably have already cut our forces down drastically if it weren't for the ongoing insurgent battles
    Ermm: Yes we are occupiers - Security Council Resolution 1483 on 22nd May 2003 recognises that the "coalition" are an occupying power. Note that this status comes with some very specific obligations under international law. And where is your evidence for the planned cut in forces, when you consider that the US is currently building at least a dozen HUGE military bases in Iraq? Of course, you don't know this, because the biased media haven't told you. Next:
    The average Iraqi is very happy we are there but unfortunately the (biased) news only shows you the few hundred that are causing all the trouble & not the millions that are happy to be rid of Saddam. You're got this "defend themselves from an invading nation" thing all wrong. I know Marines that came back & tell a totally different story.
    A few hundred? Wait, I thought we'd killed over a thousand insurgents in Fallujah alone. That should mean that all the remaining Iraqis are out picking flowers to throw at our troops, even as we speak. Did any of your marine buddies bring you a bunch of flowers courtesy of the grateful iraqi people? Thought not. Most people who have any idea of what's going on acknowledge that the insurgency is: (a) Pretty damn big and (b) Getting bigger. Civil war is becoming almost inevitable. Way to go on liberating a country. And then we have:
    Now back to the treatment of prisoners... all is fair in war and if I catch you blowing up tanks.... shooting at my comrads..etc. I'm going to nail you and get any info I can that might save my buddy from that road side bomb tommorrow.
    All's fair in war? Hang on, I thought we weren't at war with Iraq? I thought you said we weren't even occupying them. We're "liberating" them, aren't we? But more importantly, given that the best estimate is that 70-90% of prisoners in those jails were innocent of ANY crime whatsoever (least of all "terrorism"), what exactly does this abuse of prisoners achieve? If you stack me naked, attach electrodes to my testicles and smear me with faeces even though I'm innocent of any crime and you can be pretty damn sure that when I'm released the insurgency will have gotten at least one more recruit. Maybe that guy will be the one who carries out the next WTC. And finally:
    I'm absolutely amazed at the press this prison thing received when their side was cutting of heads!!!! Those stories quickly faded and we are still talking about this crap. I think your real question should be.. "what did those people do to deserve that treatment"?
    Actually, Nick Berg's execution (the first of the grim televised beheadings) happened shortly after the news broke about Abu Ghraib abuses. Any connection? Who knows, but it's just another illustration of your profound wrongness on just about every issue you chose to talk about. Wishing for a good outcome in Iraq is not going to make it happen. Pleading "good intentions" is just laying another paving stone on the road to hell. It's also profoundly deceitful, since America always has and always will act exclusively in its own interests. Spending money in order to bring "Freedom" to others is NOT on the agenda, and never has been. My proof? Well, how is it that the right wing, who begrudge spending a single penny on healthcare for the domestic poor suddenly come over all generous when it comes to spending HUNDREDS of billions of dollars to bring "freedom" to people in other countries? Some other agenda perhaps?

    I agree that Dagma is an ignoramus. Just because someone acts like a barbarian, doesn't mean everyone has to do so.

    Kelite... b.b. i think if you go back and re-read my post, that was my question. I did as you requested and I came to the same conclusion... you asked what those prisoners did to deserve that treatment, but my queston was...what did Nick Burg do to deserve having his head cut off??? we were attacked on 9/11 by al qaeda. not iraq I can't explain it anymore... Iraq aided, supported, rewared, housed ... etc.. etc.. etc.. terrorists and that makes them guilty. We are sending a message and every other nation that does this is at risk... simple enough? we have since discovered that there were no weapons of mass destruction and no plans in place to create or purchase any. none. just to clear that up. Well, the real FACT is .. he had them...he used them... & had plans to use them (nukes) again. You can chose to ignore that if you wish. Police raid drug houses all the time & find nothing... does that mean they weren't (aren't) there? I for one want my president to go kick the ass of anyone that wants to f with me... period! what this has to do with our soldiers impersonation of saddam's henchman is beyond me. This really gets me hot... Yeah Teddy Kennedy said something about we are now operating the same prison Saddam did.... I wanted to puke. Show me the videos of US soldiers beheading Iraqis...cutting out their tongues... cutting off their hands .. etc.. etc like Saddam did & I'll side with you on this. not crushing insurgency (which literally means 'rebellion against the leadership of a political party' - including democracy) If these 'insurgents' were actually Iragi's fighting for their freedom.. I'd agree. But they are not.... they are fundimental Islamic crazies that see us as the devil. Iraqi's don't need to fight for their freedom. All they have to do is put down their weapons & vote... We will leave and they will have their freedom. Why didn't these 'freedom loving' guys take up arms against Saddam? Any ideas? Well I'll give you a hint.... they are Saddam backers... they don't want freedom. They want us out so they can control the Iraqi people like before. You need to wake up here!

    Paul in LA... Do you actually think that capital punishment is pretty in ANY form? Capital punishment...?? Is that what that was? I was under the impression that you need to do something wrong... go through a trial.. etc.. etc?

    Ian... when you consider that the US is currently building at least a dozen HUGE military bases in Iraq? Well, this has commonly bantered about but I have seen no hard evidence of this. Besides, we have bases in England, Germany, and several hundred other countries around the world... I didn't realize we were occupying so many places! A few hundred? Wait, I thought we'd killed over a thousand insurgents in Fallujah alone Ok... you got me there. I meant to say a few thousand. So? Did any of your marine buddies bring you a bunch of flowers courtesy of the grateful iraqi people? No, but there are plenty of pictures! Pictures you'll never see on the news. All's fair in war? Hang on, I thought we weren't at war with Iraq? We aren't! I never said we were. We are at war with Islamic fundemental idiots who are using Iraq (as they have in the past) as a base of operations. They see it as a way to fight the infidels without having to come here & do it. I thought you said we weren't even occupying them. We're "liberating" them, aren't we? We aren't... we will leave as soon as things settle down. Yes we are liberating the people of Iraq. They aren't the ones blowing up Marines with roadside bombs & firing RPGs at them. I can't for the lif eof me understand why you (supposedly intellegent) people can't see the difference.

    Ian pt 2 But more importantly, given that the best estimate is that 70-90% of prisoners in those jails were innocent of ANY crime whatsoever Ok...so that means 30-10% were guilty. And how do you suppose we found that out? Actually, Nick Berg's execution (the first of the grim televised beheadings) happened shortly after the news broke about Abu Ghraib abuses. Any connection? NO... but of course that's what the liberal news media would like you to believe... It's all progaganda BS by these fanatics and all you dummies buy that. How about the news guy (can't remember his name at the moment) that was kindnapped & beheaded months before that..? How about all the Iraqi police recruits that were captued & then beheaded. Any connection? NO... these animals don't need any excuses and if they ever caught you (as sympathetic to their cause as you might be) your head will come off just as fast because you too are an infidel! the right wing, who begrudge spending a single penny on healthcare for the domestic poor. LOL..there are millions & millions spent on this. You need to get your facts straight dude.

    I can't explain it anymore... Iraq aided, supported, rewared, housed ... etc.. etc.. etc.. terrorists and that makes them guilty. We are sending a message and every other nation that does this is at risk... simple enough? Too simple, actually. Say what you want about Saddam, but under him Iraq was actually more of a stabilizing influence on terrorism in that region. Much more so than it will be now, after our invasion. The main beef the U.S. had with Iraq in terms of terroism was that Saddam sent money for the FAMILIES of palestinian suicide bombers to rebuild after Israel BULLDOZED THEIR HOMES. Now what would your take be if the U.S. bulldozed the homes of the relatives of murderers in the U.S.? But we have to stick up for our good friends and ally...the Apartheid Government of Israel, even if it means sacrificing hundreds of our own people and some of our security.

    b.b.- do you have any factual evidence of your claims? or is the talking points memo good enough 'truth' for you? one thing i have to lol at; comparing iraq (an entire country) to a drug dealers house (2000 sq ft?). and comparing nuclear weapons and nuclear facilities (huge things, very difficult to transport) with drugs (fit into sandwich bags). lol!!! liste, b.b., let's just agree to disagree. this is going nowhere, fast.

    Re: Defense Crumbles in Charles Graner Prisoner Ab (none / 0) (#35)
    by kdog on Fri Jan 14, 2005 at 12:28:17 PM EST
    This point struck me
    They see it as a way to fight the infidels without having to come here & do it.
    Why is it we are making the murderous fundies job easier? I've said before, our military has been deployed as "human shields", to draw the terrorists to Iraq (where I believe they weren't before). I say, if they want to kill Americans, at least make them cross the ocean and do it here. Try to make it more difficult to accomplish, not easier. Unless of course, the real goal is to maximize war, not minimize it. I have a moral problem with sending some poor schlub to Iraq to draw fire away from me, when I have the mighty Atlantic to protect me from any potential foreign invaders.

    Well, this has commonly bantered about but I have seen no hard evidence of this. we've seen no evidence at all of any of the claims you are making. No, but there are plenty of pictures! Pictures you'll never see on the news. pictures you'll never link to... Yes we are liberating the people of Iraq. They aren't the ones blowing up Marines with roadside bombs & firing RPGs at them. really? i guess the french are doing that? or maybe the glbt community? i could've sworn it was the iraqis... especially since we've killed thousands of them. Ok...so that means 30-10% were guilty. And how do you suppose we found that out? this is so close to 'kill them all and let god sort 'em out' that i literally had bile rise in the my throat. you don't make any sense, b.b., and your bloodthirsty nationalist rhetoric just makes me again mentally compare you with those you claim to be against. and you don't come out well in that comparison.

    Beheading is standard practice for capital punishment in Muslim countries. It is no more or less disgusting than electrocution, gas, or a deadly needle. Thanks Ian, good rebuttal. The murders of the four 'contractors' came as a result of...what? And the slaughter of Fallujah came after WHAT due process and trial of those innocent people, that destroyed town? Racism is just racism. You dress it up in 'national security,' but now that Bush's claims have been PROVEN, once again, to be utter frauds, shut you dumb, naive, uneducated, heartless cakeholes. --