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PFC England s hearing enters its third day oh what a tangled web

PFC England's hearing is starting to sound like a bad movie plot, without a script and the actors are clueless.
The Army's prosecution is portraying PFC England as a disobedient soldier with the loose morals of a woman who works the streets. Or the Russian expression "A woman from the market"  

Her immediate supervisor took the stand and he said that at one time, England was confined to bed for a back injury and she snuck out to go meet her lover.  Her night visits to her lover were depriving her of sleep and hurt her performance as administrator handling prison paperwork.

"She was sneaking out in the middle of the night, going down to the hard site prison. She wasn't getting enough sleep," her supervisor stated at the military pretrial hearing, adding England had trouble showing up on time and "her performance was not so good." On four separate occasions, he had to talk to her about her performance.

At one point in late November, he said, England was ordered not to leave her quarters unescorted except for work, church, the latrine or meals. That didn t work either.

An Army Specialist testified for the prosecution said England appeared to be a willing participant in the humiliation, describing one instance when England provided the lewd dialog as prison guard forced two Iraqi prisoners to engage in a sex act.

The commanding General of the prison compound stated that she was not made aware of the abuses as a conspiracy that reaches all the way to the White House to keep her uninformed.

In a feature interview with the BBC, she said "A very reliable witness has made a statement indicating that, not only was I not included in any of the meetings discussing interrogation operations, but specific measures were taken to ensure I would not have access to those facilities, that information or any of the details of interrogation at Abu Ghraib or anywhere else".

A commanding General locked out of her own staff meetings is a little hard believed.

The prosecution brought an Army investigator to the stand and he said that another photograph in the series of photographs showed England engaged in "oral sodomy" with an unnamed soldier.

When the defense attorneys questioned England s immediate supervisor, he said that he was aware of another steamy relationship taking place at the time but took no action. 

PFC England has stuck to her story that she was ordered to go along with the prisoner abuse photos under orders. She stated an individual from Military Intelligence requested some shock and awe photos that they could use against the prisoners during questioning.  So far she has not stated a name of the mysterious MI person, nor can she seem to offer a description of the person.

Visitors, regardless of who they are, must log in at the Duty Sergeants desk.  That log has not been brought into the proceedings as evidence on behalf of PFC England.

An Army Sergeant First Class testified that he was not directly ordered to participate in the prisoner abuse but he added that it was unclear as who was actually running the prison his commander or Military Intelligence. He also said that Military Intelligence was trying to run the entire operation.  But again, no description, no names, no logs nothing.

England added that she was told the photos were going to be used for PSYOPs (Psychological Operations). 

When this reporter was in the US Army, and worked in PSYOPS, things like this were not, and never were part of PSYOPs mission.  Such photos would never be used by Military Intelligence.  Such photos would only serve to alienate the enemy further.  To be effective, photographs such as the prisoners being well taken care of, nice quarters, nice liberties would be used effectively against the enemy sitting in dusty quarters, no bathing facilities, cold nights sleeping on the ground, and poor food.

PFC England has not offered an explanation why, she, in a series of photos that include the prisoner abuse, she was pictured having oral sex with another member of her unit. Nor can she offer an explanation why, on the night before her unit was deployed, she was parading around the motel with her breasts exposed, or an explanation why she and two of her other comrades went swimming naked.

England s story is a desperate effort to clear her, and she is only making things worse by sticking to her fabrications.  She is insuring that she will face court martial by her own hand. 

In my own service experience, the Army can be accused of many things and most of them not positive, but in defense of the Army, in England s case, and the actions of her unit, we can see a total break down in the command structure, disregard for the rules of the Geneva Convention, and a total disregard for the code of conduct.  While England and her comrades are guilty of their behavior, it all points to one thing the problem is a management problem, the leadership.  The chain of command going all the way up to the author of the rules of engagement and the commander in chief.

My advice to her confess you were in violations of military regulations and the court marshal will impose a more liberal judgment.  Keep up this play action and life is going to get very difficult.

Michael Berglin

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