- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 12, 2004

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — The Army private facing a court-martial for being photographed with naked Iraqi prisoners says she was following orders to create psychological pressure on them.

Pfc. Lynndie England told KCNC-TV in Denver on Tuesday that her superiors gave her specific instructions on how to pose for the photographs. Asked who gave the orders, she would say only, “Persons in my chain of command.”

In photographs that have been shown worldwide, Pfc. England, 21, is seen smiling, cigarette in her mouth, as she leans forward and points at the genitals of a naked, hooded Iraqi. Another photograph taken at Baghdad’s Abu Ghraib prison shows her holding a leash that encircles the neck of a naked Iraqi man lying on his side.

“I was instructed by persons in higher rank to ‘stand there, hold this leash, look at the camera,’ and they took picture for PsyOps [psychological operations],” she told KCNC-TV.

“I didn’t really, I mean, want to be in any pictures,” she said.

She also said she thought “it was kind of weird.”

The interview with Pfc. England, a military reservist from West Virginia, was taped Tuesday in North Carolina. Pfc. England, who is now at Fort Bragg, N.C., also met Tuesday with one of a team of Denver lawyers who have volunteered to take her case.

Asked whether worse things happened than those already seen in the photographs, she said yes but declined to elaborate.

She said her superiors praised the photographs and “just told us, ‘Hey, you’re doing great, keep it up.’”

Pfc. England faces a military court-martial that includes charges of conspiracy to maltreat prisoners and assault consummated by battery, and could face punishment ranging from a reprimand to more than 15 years in prison.

No date has been set for a hearing in the case.

Six other soldiers from the 372nd Military Police Company also are charged. One, Spc. Jeremy C. Sivits of Hyndman, Pa., will face a court-martial in Baghdad next week.

“We don’t feel like we were doing things that we weren’t supposed to because we were told to do them,” Pfc. England said. “We think everything was justified because we were instructed to do this and to do that.”

After meeting with Pfc. England, attorney Giorgio Ra’Shadd said she shouldn’t be used as a scapegoat by the military.

“You don’t see my client doing anything abusive at all,” Mr. Ra’Shadd said in an interview. “I think she was ordered to smile.”

Mr. Ra’Shadd said Pfc. England was pulled into the situations by intelligence agents who subverted the military chain of command. He said they used Pfc. England to humiliate the men being photographed so they could show the pictures to more important prisoners and threaten them with the same treatment.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide