Archive for the ‘chicken’ Category

Abu Ghraib / Naval Consolidated Brig Miramar in San Diego

October 13, 2006

She was only 20 when many of the Abu Ghraib photos were taken — so young that her then-boyfriend, Charles Graner, 35, had to buy her drinks for her at an officers’ club where they used to hang out in Fort Lee, VA, before their deployment to Iraq.

At Pilgrim’s, England helped oversee the marinating and packaging of chicken. “Not long after I started working there, I noticed some chicken parts were discolored and diseased-looking, but the workers still sent them down the line at the plant,” she tells me. “I told my supervisors.” They ignored her.

“People were doing bad things. They’d let bad chicken go through the line — chicken that still had blood on it — and look the other way. Management didn’t care.”

She spoke of Abu Ghraib, and how they would “smoke” the detainees — the code word for forcing prisoners to exercise until the point of collapse — as well as making them walking around wearing women’s underwear on their heads and other unusual disciplinary measures.

“She told me their job was to keep them awake: Let them sleep a little bit and then wake them back up. I said, ‘Are you allowed to do that?’ And she said, ‘Oh yeah, that’s what we’re told to do,'” says Hardy. “She told me the officers were involved; they knew what was going on. There were a lot of what she called ‘OGAs.'”

Officially, OGA stands for “other government agency.” But everyone in the army knows it means the CIA. It also means, don’t ask questions.

In fact, if England touches anything her family has handled, she’ll be subjected to a full-body cavity search. As it is, she goes through a strip search after each of our four visits: “If you have your period, and you have a visitor, they make you take your tampon out afterward and squat and cough,” she says. “You think those are mirrors?” England asks me, pointing to a row of reflective glass panes on the side of the room. “Those aren’t mirrors. There are people on the other side, watching us the whole time.”

Not surprisingly, rules are strict: Inmates have to rise at 5 a.m.; they have no choice in what they eat (tonight, macaroni and cheese); and they must perform chores like mowing the lawn, tending vegetable gardens, and folding the American flag. England, however, isn’t allowed to take the flag down at the end of the day, “because I’m high-profile,” she says. “Somebody might be on the golf course [nearby] and see me touching it” — and maybe even snap a picture. She illustrates, clicking an invisible camera in the air.

Prisoners who break the rules — “push buttons,” England calls it — are sent to “DeSeg.” (Button-pushing includes such things as engaging in sexual activity with another prisoner.) “In DeSeg, they make you sit in isolation in a windowless room. You can’t watch TV or read,” she explains. “You have to sit at a desk. You can’t sleep from reveille to nighttime.”

A former civilian prison guard, he’d also been accused in a federal lawsuit of assaulting an inmate at Pennsylvania’s State Correctional Institution-Greene in 1998 and putting a razor blade in the inmate’s mashed potatoes.

“In situations like Iraq, the first thing some young female soldiers look for is a protector — a senior male, let’s say, who’s sitting in a vehicle with her,” says Karpinski.

In another photo, England is standing near a detainee, Hayder Sabbar Abd, a 34-year-old taxi driver, as he is being made to simulate masturbation.

But her military attorney has advised her to grow her hair longer, to try and look more feminine.

When she speaks, she does so carefully — the way she’s been coached.

Clearly, England has confided in her lawyer about things she saw or did that never came up in court, and Hardy wants to protect her from any new charges. So he has counseled her to say, “I heard,” or “There were rumors,” or “I was told,” when she describes things.

Is it true that an American contractor sexually assaulted an Iraqi boy in prison?

“I heard rumors he did things to boys in the cell,” she says.

“Lynndie is away from the flagpole, in Abu Ghraib — the most terrible place. You’re being mortared every night. You are breathing dust and broken concrete. It’s hot. You feel dehumanized. You’re drained of every bit of compassion that you have. She did it because she wanted to come back from this godforsaken war and be able to say, ‘We did this for the government.’ She was made to believe that this was of such importance to national security.

http://magazines.ivillage.com/marieclaire/print/0,,703130,00.html

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