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Lynndie England pleads guilty, and surprise – top brass get away


U.S. Army PFC Lynndie England, who was pictured holding a naked Iraqi on a leash in the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, pleaded guilty to seven charges of abuse. (Photo by Jeff Mitchell/Reuters). Charles Graner, seen here in 2004, who is serving a 10-year jail term for beating and sexually humiliating prisoners, engaging in sex acts (AFP/Getty Images/File).

It’s notable that two women take the fall, as pleaded guilty. Brigadier General Janis Karpinski, commander of the military police unit accused of the abuse, received nonjudicial punishment, and was relieved of her command and reprimanded. It doesn’t excuse the heinous atrocious behavior, but who else is paying the price? You won’t see any top brass or Rummy on this list, just the grunts, who clearly just came up with these torture ideas on their own as they partied along in the prison. The senior US military commander in Iraq when the scandal broke, Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, and three other high-ranking officers were cleared of any wrongdoing by a US military probe.

The others previously convicted:

_ Charles Graner Jr., 36, of Uniontown, Pa., is the only defendant to go to trial. Prosecutors described Graner, who is said to be England’s ex-boyfriend, as the ringleader of a group of Abu Ghraib guards who mistreated Iraqi detainees. He was photographed giving the thumbs-up sign behind a pile of naked detainees and ordering them to masturbate. He is serving a 10-year prison sentence at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., after he was found guilty in January.

Last month he married Megan Ambuhl, 30, of Centreville, Va., a former Abu Ghraib guard who pleaded guilty to failing to prevent or report maltreatment of prisoners. She was accused of watching prisoners being abused and helped set up the photograph of England holding a naked prisoner by a leash. Ambuhl was discharged from the Army without serving prison time.

_ Ivan Frederick, 38, of Buckingham, Va., was sentenced to 8 1/2 years in October after pleading guilty to conspiracy, dereliction of duty, maltreatment of detainees, assault and committing an indecent act. Frederick admitted he helped place wires on a detainee’s hands and told him he would be electrocuted if he fell off a box. He was a staff sergeant, making him the highest-ranking soldier to serve prison time in the case.

_ Jeremy Sivits, 25, of Hyndman, Pa., pleaded guilty last May to four counts for taking pictures of naked Iraqi prisoners being humiliated, including some of the photographs that triggered the scandal. The former guard was sentenced to a year in prison.

_ Roman Krol, 23, of Randolph, Mass., admitted pouring water on naked detainees and forcing them to crawl around the floor at Abu Ghraib, and throwing a foam football at them while they were handcuffed. After pleading guilty, Krol was sentenced in February to 10 months in prison.

_ Armin Cruz, 24, of Plano, Texas, was sentenced to eight months in September after pleading guilty to conspiracy and mistreating prisoners. Cruz was accused of forcing naked prisoners to crawl along the floor and handcuffing men together.

_ Javal Davis, 27, of Roselle, N.J., received a six-month sentence after pleading guilty in February to assault, dereliction of duty and lying to Army investigators. Davis admitted stepping on the hands and feet of handcuffed detainees and falling with his full weight on top of them.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding