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Humiliation at Abu Ghraib, and Then at the Prosecution Table

Lt. Col. Steven Jordan, whom the military decided to prosecute  --  though not very effectively so far.
Lt. Col. Steven Jordan, whom the military decided to prosecute -- though not very effectively so far. (By Steve Ruark -- Associated Press)

Later, Tracy permanently dismissed one of his witnesses before getting him to discuss the Abu Ghraib prison logs for the court record. "You have not laid the proper foundation," the judge upbraided Tracy.

Finally, after an afternoon recess, Tracy wasn't at his spot when the judge called on him to introduce his next witness. "He stepped outside," a sheepish Pavlovcak told the irritated judge before going to fetch his colleague.

Eight of the 12 charges against Jordan have already been dismissed. This week, prosecutors dropped the charge that Jordan lied to investigators because they determined that the chief investigator of the Abu Ghraib abuse, Maj. Gen. George Fay, had not read Jordan his rights. Prosecutors also abandoned plans to use the graphic photos of the prisoner mistreatment.

Though pinning little to Jordan, the prosecution did manage to revive the memories of the Abu Ghraib abuse. Pvt. Frederick, one of the low-level soldiers already convicted for his role in the abuse, gave a matter-of-fact recounting of his work at the "hard site" in Abu Ghraib's Tier 1. "They were placed in a naked pyramid, humiliated" in "sexual positions," he said in a courtroom decorated in the style of a budget hotel, with portraits of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln on the wall. "Sometimes they'd be wearing female panties."

A defense lawyer, Maj. Kris Poppe, took Frederick through a bizarre checklist.

Were the inmates stripped?

"Yes, sir."

"Simulated masturbation?"

"Yes, sir."

"Simulated homosexual acts?"

"Yes, sir."

But then Poppe got to the point. "Lieutenant Colonel Jordan had nothing to do with those detainees being abused, did he?" Poppe asked.


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