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NYT: Accused G.I.'s Try to Shift Blame in Prison Abuse

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Bozita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-04 10:48 PM
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NYT: Accused G.I.'s Try to Shift Blame in Prison Abuse
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/05/16/international/middlee...

May 16, 2004

Accused G.I.'s Try to Shift Blame in Prison Abuse
By ADAM LIPTAK, MICHAEL MOSS and KATE ZERNIKE

Six of the defendants in the Abu Ghraib abuse case once all bunked together in a tent in Baghdad. But as the most important military prosecutions since Vietnam unfold, each soldier is struggling alone to explain away seemingly irrefutable evidence captured in frame after frame of disturbing images, and they are pointing fingers at one another, minimizing their roles and blaming the government.

One defendant, Specialist Megan M. Ambuhl, says she was merely a bystander who treated the Iraqi detainees kindly, giving them copies of the Koran and making sure their meals contained no pork.

Specialist Jeremy C. Sivits, in a statement to investigators, described brutal conduct by Staff Sgt. Ivan L. Frederick II and Specialist Charles A. Graner Jr., who, in turn, call him a liar.

Then there is Sgt. Javal S. Davis. His lawyer, Paul Bergrin, accuses the government of abusing him by interrogating him for 20 sleepless hours right after he worked a 60-hour shift at Abu Ghraib.

The defendants' challenge is to convince military courts that the pictures of abusive treatment of Iraqi detainees, which have generated a storm of criticism, do not begin to tell the whole story. Each has a personal version of events but one theme unites them: they contend they were following orders.

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