She is the last but best known of seven accused soldiers to enter a military courtroom on charges of prisoner abuse in Iraq charged with determining whether she should face a court-martial on 19 charges of assault, misconduct and
England, 21 years old and six months pregnant, sat mostly expressionless as two military investigators described a carnival-like mentality among soldiers at the Iraqi prison where mistreatment of detainees and sexual high jinks were carried out with equal giddiness.
“From the get-go, it seemed like it was just a joke,” said Special Agent Paul Arthur, the lead investigator into the abuse, describing England’s description of the mistreatment in two sworn statements. “They didn’t think it was that big a deal, they were just joking around.”
England, wearing a maternity version of military camouflage, appeared to suppress a smile as investigators described a videotape that showed her having sex with Cpl. Charles Graner, who prosecutors say was a ringleader of the abuse and England says is the father of the child she is carrying.
Investigators said they discovered 1,000 photographs and additional videos on computers owned by various soldiers. About 280 photos, interspersed with travelogue shots of Iraq and Kuwait, showed detainees being sexually humiliated or mistreated, or soldiers engaged in various kinds of sexually inflected misconduct.
England’s lawyers, like those for the other military police soldiers who have already been ordered to face courts-martial, have said she was acting on orders from military intelligence to “loosen up” detainees so they would say more in interrogations.
The lawyers argue that military intelligence personnel, and therefore the military police who served as prison guards in the interrogation wing, were under pressure to get detainees to give up more information.
But two investigators testifying Tuesday said there was no evidence that the abused detainees had any value to military intelligence — most were common criminals, not terrorists. The majority, Arthur testified, were never even interrogated. And they noted that England was assigned to an administrative job, not to the wing where the abuses on film occurred. She has told investigators she went there to visit Graner.
The investigators said that none of the accused soldiers had been able to recall the names of anyone who had given the orders. Known techniques to encourage interrogations did not include the acts depicted in the most graphic photographs — piling naked detainees in a human pyramid, or forcing them to masturbate.
Special Agent Warren Worth, the other investigator, said he had interviewed military intelligence soldiers. “I found nothing to suggest they were aware of any of the events we’ve spoken of today,” he testified.