FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Lynndie England’s Burden

 

Legal justice is the art of the good and the fair.

Latin Saying

She’s unsophisticated and certainly doesn’t read the newspapers so she’ll not have noticed. Were it otherwise she’d be as puzzled as her limited intellect would permit. And the question she’d ask, if she could find anyone else to discuss such matters with, is was it fair? And the answer she’d be given is that life isn’t fair and that’s especially true in the George Bush world where tax cuts for the rich are enabled by reductions in benefits for the poor. But that’s a topic for another day.

Pfc. Lynndie England almost certainly doesn’t understand why she’s off to prison for three years. Somewhere deep down she knows what she did was terribly wrong and she shouldn’t have done it.. Before her sentencing she apologized for her role in the Abu Ghraib prison scandal “to coalition forces and their families that lost their life or were injured because of the photos.”

Pfc. England is doing penance for those in charge who permitted the abuses to occur. She is serving three years in prison. She’ll not be spending any time with her 11-month-old son, Pvt. Graner’s last gift to her before they quit being friends. No officers have been tried for permitting the kind of conduct in which she engaged to go on,
even though a report released by the Pentagon in 2004 blamed leadership failures from Donald Rumsfeld on down for the conditions that permitted the abuse that took place at Abu Ghraib. She would be forgiven if she thought that the chain of command that assigned responsibility for the mistreatment of prisoners to someone no higher than two or three ranks above her had to be one of the shortest chains in the history of the army. Here’s what would puzzle her if she read newspapers.

She’d wonder why a report by the CIA’s inspector general on dereliction of duty by high ranking officials in the CIA that may have contributed to, if not led to 9/11, would be ignored by the CIA’s director. She might even say to herself that what the CIA’s inspector general reported on is much worse than what she did. And she’d be right.

The CIA’s inspector general is John L. Helgerson. His appointment was announced on February 28, 2002. George J. Tenet, then the head of the CIA said of the appointment: “John’s breadth and depth of experience at CIA . . . as well as his sense of fairness and his absolute integrity-make him eminently qualified for this demanding and extraordinarily important position. . . . [H]e will do an outstanding job, approaching every aspect of his work with vigor, independence, and fairness.” Mr. Tenet got that right.

At the request of the joint Congressional committee that had done its own review of events leading up to 9/11, Mr. Helgerson investigated events leading up to 9/11. At the conclusion of his investigation he recommended that the agency convene an “accountability review board, a prerequisite to imposing any discipline on responsible parties, like George Tenet. Although the report remains classified notwithstanding requests from senior democratic and republican members of Congress that it be released, it is known that it specifically censures Mr. Tenet (whose praise of Mr. Helgerson’s accompanied his appointment) and singled out 19 other current and former officials for criticism.

On October 5, Porter J. Goss, the former Republican Congressman from Florida turned professional spook and CIA director announced he would ignore Mr. Helgerson’s recommendation. He said that whether to prosecute or not was “a matter of judgment” and by deciding to do nothing, demonstrated he had none. Mr. Goss said if individuals were disciplined it “would send the wrong message to our junior officers about taking risks.” He said the officers identified by Mr. Helgerson “were ‘stars’ who had excelled in their areas. . . .” Some of those identified as having failed in their responsibility have left the agency. Speaking of those who remain Mr. Goss said they are “among the finest we have.”

One of the departed ‘stars’ was James Pavitt, former deputy director for operations. He was singled out for criticism. He said Mr. Goss did “the right thing” by not going after him and others. Some surprise, that.

John Negroponte is the new director of national intelligence. He said he fully supports Mr. Goss’s decision to sweep the report under the rug. Members of Congress still want it released. It won’t be.

If Pfc. England read newspapers she’d ask someone to explain to her why her responsibility for the abuse of prisoners in Abu Ghraib is so much worse than the dereliction of duty by those who, had they been competent, might have been able to prevent 9/11. Sadly, there is no explanation so it’s just as well she doesn’t ask.

CHRISTOPHER BRAUCHLI is a lawyer in Boulder, Colorado. He can be reached at: Brauchli.56@post.harvard.edu or through his website: http://hraos.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CLARIFICATION

ALEXANDER COCKBURN, JEFFREY ST CLAIR, BECKY GRANT AND THE INSTITUTE FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF JOURNALISTIC CLARITY, COUNTERPUNCH

We published an article entitled “A Saudiless Arabia” by Wayne Madsen dated October 22, 2002 (the “Article”), on the website of the Institute for the Advancement of Journalistic Clarity, CounterPunch, www.counterpunch.org (the “Website”).

Although it was not our intention, counsel for Mohammed Hussein Al Amoudi has advised us the Article suggests, or could be read as suggesting, that Mr Al Amoudi has funded, supported, or is in some way associated with, the terrorist activities of Osama bin Laden and the Al Qaeda terrorist network.

We do not have any evidence connecting Mr Al Amoudi with terrorism.

As a result of an exchange of communications with Mr Al Amoudi’s lawyers, we have removed the Article from the Website.

We are pleased to clarify the position.

August 17, 2005

 

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
April 20, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Ruling Class Operatives Say the Darndest Things: On Devils Known and Not
Conn Hallinan
The Great Game Comes to Syria
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Mother of War
Andrew Levine
“How Come?” Questions
Doug Noble
A Tale of Two Atrocities: Douma and Gaza
Kenneth Surin
The Blight of Ukania
Howard Lisnoff
How James Comey Became the Strange New Hero of the Liberals
William Blum
Anti-Empire Report: Unseen Persons
Lawrence Davidson
Missiles Over Damascus
Patrick Cockburn
The Plight of the Yazidi of Afrin
Pete Dolack
Fooled again? Trump Trade Policy Elevates Corporate Power
Stan Cox
For Climate Mobilization, Look to 1960s Vietnam Before Turning to 1940s America
William Hawes
Global Weirding
Dan Glazebrook
World War is Still in the Cards
Nick Pemberton
In Defense of Cardi B: Beyond Bourgeois PC Culture
Ishmael Reed
Hollywood’s Last Days?
Peter Certo
There Was Nothing Humanitarian About Our Strikes on Syria
Dean Baker
China’s “Currency Devaluation Game”
Ann Garrison
Why Don’t We All Vote to Commit International Crimes?
LEJ Rachell
The Baddest Black Power Artist You Never Heard Of
Lawrence Ware
All Hell Broke Out in Oklahoma
Donny Swanson
Janus v. AFSCME: What’s It All About?
Will Podmore
Brexit and the Windrush Britons
Brian Saady
Boehner’s Marijuana Lobbying is Symptomatic of Special-Interest Problem
Julian Vigo
Google’s Delisting and Censorship of Information
Patrick Walker
Political Dynamite: Poor People’s Campaign and the Movement for a People’s Party
Fred Gardner
Medical Board to MDs: Emphasize Dangers of Marijuana
Rob Seimetz
We Must Stand In Solidarity With Eric Reid
Missy Comley Beattie
Remembering Barbara Bush
Wim Laven
Teaching Peace in a Time of Hate
Thomas Knapp
Freedom is Winning in the Encryption Arms Race
Mir Alikhan
There Won’t be Peace in Afghanistan Until There’s Peace in Kashmir
Robert Koehler
Playing War in Syria
Tamara Pearson
US Shootings: Gun Industry Killing More People Overseas
John Feffer
Trump’s Trade War is About Trump Not China
Morris Pearl
Why the Census Shouldn’t Ask About Citizenship
Ralph Nader
Bill Curry on the Move against Public Corruption
Josh Hoxie
Five Tax Myths Debunked
Leslie Mullin
Democratic Space in Adverse Times: Milestone at Haiti’s University of the Aristide Foundation
Louis Proyect
Syria and Neo-McCarthyism
Dean Baker
Finance 202 Meets Economics 101
Abel Cohen
Forget Gun Control, Try Bullet Control
Robert Fantina
“Damascus Time:” An Iranian Movie
David Yearsley
Bach and Taxes
April 19, 2018
Ramzy Baroud
Media Cover-up: Shielding Israel is a Matter of Policy
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail