Trial Begins in Abu Ghraib Death

A new Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse trial has begun. It concerns a death by "Palestinian hanging" ruled a homicide. A Navy seal is charged. But it's not passing the smell test to many observers.

A government report obtained by the Associated Press said that [Manadel]Jamadi died an hour after his arrival at Abu Ghraib in early November 2003. The report said he had been beaten while in CIA custody and then hung by his wrists, with his arms crossed across his back -- treatment described as "torture" by international organizations. The prisoner reportedly died before CIA interrogators extracted information from him.

U.S. Army guards at the prison then packed his body in ice and posed with the corpse in mocking photographs.

A deocorated Navy Seal Lt. Andrew K. Ledford faces charges in the death that carry up to 11 years in jail. The charges include:

...punching Jamadi in the arm, posing in a photograph with the captured prisoner and lying to investigators.

Fellow seamen believe Ledford is being made to take the fall for civilian CIA employees. None have been charged.

Because of the CIA's involvement, special rules are being applied to the trial which hinder the defense.

A "security officer" approves every question from lawyers before witnesses can answer. Some witnesses testify behind blue curtains to protect their "visual identity." A civilian CIA lawyer tracks all testimony from the back of the courtroom.

As the prosecution launched its case, a naval investigator, Eric Barrus, acknowledged that he lied to Ledford while questioning him about the arrest of Jamadi. Barrus said he made up stories about what other members of the platoon had said to get Ledford to admit to abusing the prisoner.

Here's some background on Jamadi's death. Jamadi was a "ghost detainee" hung from the wrists while being interrogated by the CIA. Why aren't they on trial?

Al-Jamadi died in a prison shower room during about a half-hour of questioning, before interrogators could extract any information, according to the documents, which consist of statements from Army prison guards to investigators with the military and the CIA's Inspector General's office.

One Army guard, Sgt. Jeffery Frost, said the prisoner's arms were stretched behind him in a way he had never before seen. Frost told investigators he was surprised al-Jamadi's arms "didn't pop out of their sockets," according to a summary of his interview.

Frost and other guards had been summoned to reposition al-Jamadi, who an interrogator said was not cooperating. As the guards released the shackles and lowered al-Jamadi, blood gushed from his mouth "as if a faucet had been turned on," according to the interview summary.

The military pathologist who ruled the case a homicide found several broken ribs and concluded al-Jamadi died from pressure to the chest and difficulty breathing.

Here's where the Seals come in:

Navy SEALs apprehended al-Jamadi as a suspect in the Oct. 27, 2003, bombing of Red Cross offices in Baghdad that killed 12 people. His alleged role in the bombing is unclear. According to court documents and testimony, the SEALs punched, kicked and struck al-Jamadi with their rifles before handing him over to the CIA early on Nov. 4. By 7 a.m., al-Jamadi was dead.

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    Re: Trial Begins in Abu Ghraib Death (none / 0) (#4)
    by Che's Lounge on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:52:56 PM EST
    This got page 4 of the LOCAL section of the paper where the trial is being held.

    Re: Trial Begins in Abu Ghraib Death (none / 0) (#5)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:52:56 PM EST
    Look, ANY Arab picked up on the streets is a potential terrorist and must be "encouraged" to give up the dirt... There ARE NO innocent Iraqi's...ask PPJ...(Part and Partial Justice...)

    Re: Trial Begins in Abu Ghraib Death (none / 0) (#1)
    by Quaker in a Basement on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:54:18 PM EST
    Well, what will it be this time, war apologists? Just a "bad apple"? He was an illegal combatant so there are no rules? Or will we just fall back on "Yeah, but what about the beheadings?" Come on. Amaze me. What's the excuse this time?

    Re: Trial Begins in Abu Ghraib Death (none / 0) (#2)
    by Andreas on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:54:19 PM EST
    An article written by last year's presidential candidate of the Socialist Equality Party about Iraq also applies to those incidents in Afghanistan:
    Is this not precisely the style of the Nazi bullyboys? And, isnít the twisted ideology underlying it similar to that propagated by the Third Reich among its troops sent to conquer Poland and Russia? Those they confronted were subhumans or Untermenschen and therefore no restrictions applied to the cruelty that could be inflicted upon them. And the purpose of this cruelty is also much the same today as it was in occupied Europe 60 years ago. Human rights organizations have credibly estimated that 90 percent of those who are arrested and detained by US forces have nothing to do with the armed struggle against the occupation. No matter how much they are tortured, they indeed have nothing to confess. But their brutalization is aimed at terrorizing the population, physically intimidating it into withdrawing support for the resistance. Even more importantly, the source of the crimes in Iraq and of those committed by Hitlerís SS is in essence the same: the launching of a criminal war of aggression.
    Wall Street Journal alibis for Nazi-style crimes in Iraq By Bill Van Auken, 25 May 2005

    Re: Trial Begins in Abu Ghraib Death (none / 0) (#3)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:54:25 PM EST
    The detainees never had it so good as when they enjoyed the hospitality of the American troops. If you need the details, Jim can break it down for you. I don't have his keen vision so I keep seing problems with the US approach.

    Re: Trial Begins in Abu Ghraib Death (none / 0) (#6)
    by ppjakajim on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:19 PM EST
    Bag - Please quit lying. All I have asked is, where are the moderated Moslems? Is that too much? I mean surely someone can show me a recent MSM interview...

    Re: Trial Begins in Abu Ghraib Death (none / 0) (#7)
    by Wile ECoyote on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:19 PM EST
    Blahgdaddy: It depends where.... There is a difference between an Arab and an Iraqi.

    Re: Trial Begins in Abu Ghraib Death (none / 0) (#8)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:20 PM EST
    PPJ- What did Blagh say that's a lie? Do you admit that just being arrested doesn't make you a terrorist deserving of torture? Do you admit that any America who engages in such barbarism should be prosecuted, not just for their acts, but perhaps for endangering Americans the world over with their actions? You don't think it matters? How many Iraqis have received a kick in the head or worse from pissed-off American troops since Al-Zarqawi started taking head counts? None? Are you sure? Are you sure NO AMERICANS have died as a direct result of pissed-off Arabs looking at the Abu Graib pictures? Are you sure? Let Blagh know and he'll take it allllllll back...