Charles Graner, Abu Ghraib Prison Guard from Hell, Released
At his trial, his lawyer claimed he was only acting as a cheerleader:
Graner's attorney said piling naked prisoners into pyramids and leading them by a leash were acceptable methods of prisoner control. He compared this to pyramids made by cheerleaders at sports events and parents putting tethers on toddlers.
"Don't cheerleaders all over America form pyramids six to eight times a year. Is that torture?" Guy Womack, Graner's attorney, said in opening arguments to the 10-member U.S. military jury at the reservist's court-martial.
At his sentencing, Graner claimed:
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."
Graner was a bad apple as a prison guard long before Abu Ghraib. He was also a monster at home.
Graner married Staci Dean in 1990, after she had become pregnant with the first of their two children. Their marriage ended in 2002 in a bitter divorce. Police were called to the home in March 2001, after the couple had separated. In Fayette County court papers, Staci Graner, who has since remarried and declined to be interviewed, reported that her husband came into the room where she was sleeping and yanked her head by the hair, banged her head against a wall, and tried to throw her down the steps. Criminal charges were not filed.
His ex-wife called him Hannibel Lechter. He was proud of the torture, and even sent photos home to his kids:
Morris, 34, a nurse who has remarried and lives outside Pittsburgh, said the former U.S. prison guard now serving a 10-year sentence would proudly e-mail his children photos showing tough treatment of Iraqi prisoners. He would send photos of "these beat up prisoners and blood and talk about how cool it was - look what daddy gets to do," she said, adding that she did not show them the correspondence.
Graner transmitted pictures of the mentally ill prisoner who was the man at the end of England's leash. In one photo the man was covered in his feces....Some of the e-mails Graner sent to family and friends were cited in his January court-martial.
Not surprisingly, she says the kids thought his sentence was too light.
Graner's e-mails were admitted at his trial. They are disgusting.
In one e-mail, he described beating on prisoners as "a good upper-body workout, but hard on the hands."
"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.
Graner didn't marry Lynndie England after his divorce, even though she had his baby. Instead, he married former Abu Ghraib guard Megan Ambuhl, who also was embroiled and convicted in the prisoner abuse scandal (she didn't get jail time.)
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