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Abu Ghraib woman guard undisciplined
Updated: 2004-08-05 08:51

Pfc. Lynndie England was an undisciplined soldier who disobeyed orders to stop sleeping with a comrade, witnesses said on Wednesday as prosecutors sharpened their attack on the woman who caused widespread outrage when she was pictured holding a naked Iraqi prisoner on a leash.

England, who defense lawyers have called a poster child for the Bush administration's flawed war policies, also made a snide remark when an Iraqi detainee at Abu Ghraib prison was forced to masturbate while soldiers watched, a witness said.

Pfc. Lynndie England (L) walks with her mother Terri England at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, August 3, 2004. A military court at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, convened to decide whether Pfc. England will be tried for the prisoner abuse that outraged the Arab world and embarrassed the Bush administration as it sought to stabilize Iraq.[Reuters]

The testimony from England's fellow military police officers came on the second day of a hearing to determine if the pregnant England should stand trial for prisoner abuse in a scandal that shook U.S. efforts to stabilize Iraq.

Prosecutors have attempted to portray England as a rogue soldier, in keeping with President Bush's statement that the abuse of prisoners was the fault of a small group.

Spc. Matthew Bolinger, her immediate supervisor at Abu Ghraib, testified England was late for work, left early and disobeyed orders confining her to a life of "work, chow and church."

"Her performance was not so good. She had a lack of discipline," Bolinger told a military court at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Bolinger said she was ordered several times to stop sleeping with Spc. Charles Graner, who is also charged in the abuse scandal.

The 21-year-old England returned to court on Wednesday after missing part of Tuesday's session for an unscheduled doctor's visit. Media reports say the father of the child she is expecting is Graner.

England was charged along with six other military police reservists over the abuse of prisoners. She became the public face of the scandal when photographs depicting her holding an Iraqi on a leash and smiling as she pointed to a prisoner's genitals went around the world.


Wednesday's testimony from members of England's 372nd Military Police Company, heard by telephone in the courtroom, served to sharpen the focus on the competing theories of prosecution and defense lawyers.

Lynndie England (C) arrives with her legal council in Fayetteville, NC for her Article 32 investigation hearing. England is charged with several counts, including conspiring to maltreat an Iraqi detainee, three counts of assault against Iraqis, and several other crimes. [AFP]
Prosecutors spotlighted England's personal behavior and sloppy work record at Abu Ghraib. Defense attorneys homed in on the actions of Military Intelligence in a bid to bolster England's claim she was only following orders to soften up prisoners for questioning.

Spc. Matthew Wisdom, a prison MP, said he witnessed an incident last November in which an Iraqi prisoner was backed up against a wall and was masturbating with another prisoner kneeling before him, mouth open. A group of soldiers watched, he said, including England and Staff Sgt. Ivan Frederick, who is also charged.

"Frederick said look what these animals do when we leave them alone for two seconds," Wisdom said.

Wisdom said he heard England speak in a sarcastic tone of voice. "She said 'he's getting hard,"' he said.

Wisdom said he also witnessed an incident where a number of Iraqis were thrown into a pile. He said Graner posed for a picture as if he was about to punch a prisoner "and right after the picture was taken, he did hit him in the face."

Defense lawyers have focused on the role of Military Intelligence officers, contending they were giving orders to MPs to soften up prisoners.

Sgt. 1st Class Shannon Snider testified he was not directly ordered to do so but conceded he was "unclear" who was actually in charge of the cellblock at Abu Ghraib.

"We had MI trying to direct us," he said.

But a Military Intelligence agent, Chief Warrant Officer Edward Rivas, said MPs were not used to rough up prisoners. "That's not doctrine, sir," Rivas said by telephone from Iraq.

England faces numerous counts of abusing prisoners, committing indecent acts and disobeying orders. If convicted, she faces a dishonorable discharge and up to 38 years in prison.

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