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PFC England's hearing is expected to hear final arguments today

The hearing looking into the allegations against PFC England is expected to hear final arguments today and Colonel Denise Arn, a military judge, is also expected to render a ruling today. 
The hearing was convened to determine if there is sufficient evidence to warrant a court martial against PFC England. 

Throughout the hearing PFC England has maintained her innocence and had eluded to getting direct orders from Military Intelligence to abuse, photograph, and humiliate Iraq POWs. 

Yesterday, PFC England's lover, an Army Specialist who worked the night shift, was called to the stand.  He was not as adamant about secret orders from Military Intelligence, but Army Investigators who interviewed the POWs got the impression that PFC England s lover was ringleader of the group of Military Police who abused the POWs. 

Two Army Investigators also said that the POWs described a female soldier as one of the antagonists, and the description was that of PFC England. The prisoners told the Army Investigators that the abuse always started "usually during the evening time", the same time PFC England s lover, Army Specialist Graner, was in charge of the cell block. 

Army Investigators also said they had spoken with Private Joseph Darby, who has been credited with bringing the abuse at Abu Ghraib to the attention of his superiors, resulting in a military investigation and crackdown. The investigator said he got the impression that PVT Darby had reason to be afraid of Specialist Graner. 

The expected ruling is almost a forgone conclusion and PFC England has gone far beyond the fail-safe point.  She can expect to now face court martial.   

A military court martial does not follow the latitudes of civilian courts.  Testimony from mental health workers, work related stress, and other sympathies should have happened at the hearing.  The court martial will only allow factual testimony already given.  

PFC England should have pleaded guilty at the hearing and the court martial would have looked more favorably to giving her a liberal sentence.  Her only chance now is if her lawyer can work out a plea bargain. Owing to the already extensive, and embarrassing, coverage of the case, a plea bargain is going to be a tough sell.  

Michael Berglin

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