Charles Graner: Admits Criminal Activity, Gets 10 Years

The jury has sentenced Charles Graner to ten years in prison. He leaves court, in shackles, still smiling.

Parole and clemency are available to Graner, to be determined by the Army Clemency and Parole Board. Regulations as of 1998 are available here (pdf.) For sentences betweeen 10 and 20 years, the prisoner comes up for parole after two years and is reviewed every year thereafter. Guidelines seem to suggest he would not be paroled before serving 1/3 of his sentence. The criteria or salient factors for parole are in section 3-2.

Bump and Update: Graner admitted criminal behavior in his testimony today.

"I didn't enjoy anything I did there. A lot of it was wrong, a lot of it was criminal," said Graner, 36, the first soldier to go on trial in the abuse case.

The jury is now deliberating. Graner's 3 hour testimony was not subject to cross-examination:

Graner spoke for nearly three hours as an "unsworn statement," meaning he was not subject to cross-examination by prosecutors. He did not testify during the 4 1/2-day trial.

Original post:

Army Spc. Charles Graner testified in the sentencing portion of his Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse trial this morning and provided this explanation:

Graner described himself as a by-the-book prison guard from rural Pennsylvania who was corrupted by superiors. He said he initially resisted pressure to physically mistreat and sexually humiliate prisoners, but his Army superiors made it clear to him that he was expected to obey the commands of the military and civilian intelligence agents who ran his part of Abu Ghraib. Graner said a lieutenant in his unit told him, "If (military intelligence) asks you to do this, it needs to be done. They're in charge, follow their orders."

In order for him to have relied on orders from above as a defense to the charges, Graner would have had to establish that he believed they were lawful orders. If he believed that, he would have testified at the guilt phase. So...is he conceding he knew the orders were unlawful but he followed them anyway? We'll keep monitoring the reports of his testimony and update. Reuters here.

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    If you look at the Abu Ghraib photos, you can tell, Graner's downcast, unhappy, depressed, and basically uncooperative each time he appears in them.

    Re: Charles Graner: Admits Criminal Activity, Gets (none / 0) (#2)
    by Adept Havelock on Sat Jan 15, 2005 at 11:01:56 AM EST
    Someone should remind Mr. Graner that "I Vas Only Followink Orders" has not been an acceptable defense since, oh, say 1945-1949 at a place called Nuremberg.

    Re: Charles Graner: Admits Criminal Activity, Gets (none / 0) (#3)
    by Andreas on Sat Jan 15, 2005 at 11:20:59 AM EST
    The main persons which were convicted to death in Nuremburg and then (legitimately) executed were those who were giving orders. Certainly many more should have been punished. The only reason Adolf Hitler himself was not treated that way was his suicide. It is time to put George W. Bush on trial.

    The only thing this testimony is good for is use to indict people giving orders to Graner. I know that failing to obey orders, even orders that you believe are unlawful, is a big step for soldiers. It's a step they should all be prepared for. I don't predict it's going to turn out well for their military careers, but the alternative is Mr. Graner's military career prospects. Also not so good, though I suspect he will be the meanest thug in brig if he can manage it. This guy represents redstate thinking. Anybody think maybe he voted for Kerry? Should it cause any concern for redstaters if they sweep the votes of this type of person?

    Did ush direct him to beat up his wife or to abuse prisoners at his job in PA??? NOT! This kid displays the classic antisocial personality disorder that most murderers, pedophiles and abusers possess.

    Re: Charles Graner: Admits Criminal Activity, Gets (none / 0) (#6)
    by Andreas on Sat Jan 15, 2005 at 01:20:22 PM EST
    @kelly: Charles Graner was selected for his job because US imperialism can use people with "antisocial personality disorders" - and US imperialism increasingly employs such people. Last but not least it employs a sadist named George W. Bush.

    Re: Charles Graner: Admits Criminal Activity, Gets (none / 0) (#7)
    by Peter G on Sat Jan 15, 2005 at 01:31:00 PM EST
    Graner says he was a "by the book" prison guard in PA. My client, Nick Yarris, was on death row in PA for 22 years until released because of DNA results. Nick says that among the death row guards at the state prison at Greene, Graner stood out for brutality, sadism and abusiveness. While such behavior is sadly not unusual, it is not by any rule book I know of.

    Re: Charles Graner: Admits Criminal Activity, Gets (none / 0) (#8)
    by Sailor on Sat Jan 15, 2005 at 02:12:57 PM EST
    "I didn't enjoy anything I did there." Hey, you gonna believe me or your lying eyes!?

    Re: Charles Graner: Admits Criminal Activity, Gets (none / 0) (#9)
    by Sailor on Sat Jan 15, 2005 at 02:41:55 PM EST
    Now maybe the civilian authorities will investigate the abuses he did as a civilian and give him more time for those.

    Patrick, you want to share your take on this guy. He appears to be a long term fixture in the criminal justice system.

    I wonder what his impressions will be on the other side of the bars. Which prison will he go to and how well will he be treated. He could be either a villian or a hero to the guards at the military prison.

    One of the first 'contractors' killed in Iraq was one of South Africa's most notorious rightwing deathsquad thugs. Graner is the tip of a VERY ugly iceberg. --

    Re: Charles Graner: Admits Criminal Activity, Gets (none / 0) (#13)
    by jimcee on Sat Jan 15, 2005 at 07:07:07 PM EST
    Although I live in a rather purple area (upstate NY) this fella needs to go to jail. It wouldn't hurt if someone looked into his past in his civilian job as a jailer. Reform often comes from some odd angles, dosen't it?

    While a soldier receives a one year sentence for mercy-killing a 16 year old Iraqi, Charles Graner gets 10 times the sentence. Navy Seals receive a slap on the wrist and complete exoneration in subsequent cases of prisoner abuse and Charles Graner gets 10 years. Sincerely, I wonder what in common do the fine people in New York City have with the likes of Charles Graner and his cohorts from western PA? Put another way, how many employees of Cantor-Fitzgerald would have joined the military to avenge a terrorist attack on Graner's hometown located in perpetually and economically depressed western PA? How much money in reparation/loss-compensation would the good employees of New York City have encouraged their government to pay to the folks of Graner's hometown had they suffered a proportional loss in a terrorist attack? So Graner goes down not just because he committed vile, reprehensible acts on behalf of his national leadership, the President-SecDef-Al Gonzalez-High military commanders, but unlike the national leadership his lack of sophistication created an air of embarrassment that just could not be tolerated. In keeping with 18th century seditious libel laws, truth is no defense and the monarch, the system will not have its stature diminished. The terrorists aren't coming to Uniontown, Pennsylvania, but the long arm of the US Army can find you. And the pattern repeats

    Re: Charles Graner: Admits Criminal Activity, Gets (none / 0) (#15)
    by desertswine on Sat Jan 15, 2005 at 07:51:45 PM EST
    I'll be waiting for the Abu Gonzales trial.

    Re: Charles Graner: Admits Criminal Activity, Gets (none / 0) (#16)
    by cp on Sat Jan 15, 2005 at 08:31:12 PM EST
    pa, last time i checked, iraq had nothing to do with the wtc. graner dug his own hole, and happily so, judging by the pics of him and his girlfriend. they looked like they were out to the senior prom. i'm still waiting, as, i am sure, is everyone else, for the names, ranks and serial #'s of those ranking officers who ordered graner and his comrades to commit the acts he was convicted of. i'll not be holding my breath.

    9-11 changed everything. Most people in western PA are less happy with the government prosecuting one of their boys than any behavior in which Graner engaged. what did anyone seriously expect from a PA prison guard, particularly one led by the guiding light of this military and this Administration?

    what did anyone seriously expect from a PA prison guard, particularly one led by the guiding light of this military and this Administration? To perform a larger pyramid?

    Re: Charles Graner: Admits Criminal Activity, Gets (none / 0) (#19)
    by Kitt on Sun Jan 16, 2005 at 12:01:05 AM EST
    Is the man high or so disconnected that he doesn't get it or as Andreas pointed out - "Charles Graner was selected for his job because US imperialism can use people with "antisocial personality disorders" - and US imperialism increasingly employs such people." He may not have been 'selected' per se; however, the military draws such as Graner for its pool.

    Where On Earth Do They Make All the Sadists for W's 'Holy' Wars? (Holy because the produce ZERO WMD, and also put fatal Holy's in more than 100,000 innocent people). (a story on Bethel military school for Sadists) UNBELIEVABLE just keeps on exceeding expectations. Hating Arabs because they were taught to hate themselves by EXPERTS who hate their country and the troops as well (suckers). It's the Burning Ring of Betrayal, aka Bush's world. Once he's unelected in, he's like a cactus in the rectum. --

    I have seen very little ote or medai coverage of the E-mails Graner sent home to "family and friends," including his children.
    Graveline [prosecutor Capt. Chris Graveline] used some of Graner’s own e-mails as evidence of how much he enjoyed the pain he inflicted on detainees. In one e-mail, he described beating on prisoners as “a good upper-body workout, but hard on the hands.” The e-mail messages were given to jurors Tuesday. The New York Times, which said it got them from a person close to the defense, reported that they were sent to Graner’s family and friends, including his young children. “The guys give me hell for not getting any pictures while I was fighting this guy,” said the message, titled “just another dull night at work,” with the photograph of the howling, bound, bleeding detainee, according to the Times. The paper also reported that Graner responded to an e-mail message about a Take Your Children to Work Day event, “how about send a bastard to hell day?” attaching a photograph of a detainee’s head bloodied beyond recognition. A photo of him stitched a detainee’s wound had the note, “Things may have gotten a bit bad when we were asking him a couple of questions. O well,” and a message with a similar photo read, “Not only was I the healer, I was the hurter. O well life goes on,” the Times reported.
    This sick demented bastard didn't need orders, prompting his behavior. And the fact these were sent to "family" would call into question how sane his mother is considering her statement that her son was still her "hero."

    Thanks for the email info. Like the photos with this smiling thug, the emails appear to reveal his authentic state of mind. My take - this guy would need a lot of work to be rehabilitated. We should invest in the rehabilitation and make certain that he is not employed in a position of authority when he is released as a public safety addendum. Public safety in this case (and maybe all cases?)extends to the rights of prisoners at Abu Ghraib or some County lock-up to be protected from sadistic human beings.

    Re: Charles Graner: Admits Criminal Activity, Gets (none / 0) (#23)
    by Dadler on Sun Jan 16, 2005 at 11:33:16 AM EST
    for sh*t's sake, we KNOW rumsfeld and higher ups approved this stuff. they may not have known the "specifics", but they cannot claim it is not what they expected when, frustrated with lack of prisoners' talking at gitmo, he signed off on more serious interrogation techniques. giant egos and little dicks. all of them. even colin powell, who just can't seem to stand up and speak his unedited mind. a loyal company man at heart. we need howard beale. mad as hell. and not gonna take it.

    kelly--you're right when you describe Graner's personality--but by the same token, he is the kind of fella that those in top positions want because they won't balk at carrying out illegal orders. Graner's just like Calley--Halliburton is just like Morrison Knutson--Bush is like Nixon-- and on and on! And history just keeps repeating itself, and we don't learn a damn thing! dadler--I agree with you completely on Powell--he's shrunk beyond recognition in my book--but he started shrinking way back in Clinton's day when he (Powell) refused an order given by his Commander-in-Chief! Powell is like MacArthur.

    Re: Charles Graner: Admits Criminal Activity, Gets (none / 0) (#25)
    by wishful on Sun Jan 16, 2005 at 04:20:25 PM EST
    So, the top brass don't want to take any responsibility when the low and mid level grunts do bad apple type stuff. Hmmmm, then does that mean that if ever the soldiers perform well, it was just a few good apples, and the brass has no responsibility for their successes?

    Re: Charles Graner: Admits Criminal Activity, Gets (none / 0) (#26)
    by Kitt on Sun Jan 16, 2005 at 04:47:01 PM EST
    Mark Danner was on CSPAN's Book TV this afternoon. Yeah, he says the same thing - of course...it was sanctioned from above. America, Abu Ghraib, and the War on Terror Also, David Kay was a on CSPAN this morning and that will on their website later. He talked about Bush rewarding those who committed 'wrongs.'

    As a foreigner it really amazes me to see a liberal american blogger refer to the Abu Ghraib torture as abuse.

    So Graner gets a parole review at 2 years and will be paroled after 1/3 of his sentence (about 40 months). So why is there parole in the military prison system (an arm of the Federal govmint) whilke there is NO parole in the civilian Federal Prison system, where an inmate IS REQUIRED to serve 85% of his sentence inside? Is the military, as exemplified by Graner, composed of inherently better people than the civilian population?

    For what it's worth to the Graner family. I believe that the ones who ordered the treatment and condoned it have used Sgt Graner and the other's to be tried as an convenient scapegoat.