June 01, 2006
The jury continues to deliberate; Capt. Wood testifies in another abuse court martial
Jury deliberations are still going on at the Cardona court martial. Meanwhile, AP reports that, yesterday, Capt. Carolyn Wood was called as a witness in another abuse court martial, this time of a military interrogator under her command in Afghanistan. The interrogator, Private First Class Damien Corsetti, "is accused of hitting, kicking and threatening to sexually assault detainees" in late 2002 at the U.S detention facility in Bagram, Afghanistan. Tim Golden of the New York Times wrote a series of excellent articles (subscription required for all) about detainee abuse at Bagram, including, specifically, horrific beatings that lead to the deaths of two detainees. In one, a May 20, 2005 story, Corsetti is described "lightheartedly" by one of his fellow soldiers as "the King of Torture." But Capt. Wood disclaims any knowledge of alleged wrongdoing by her subordinate: according to yesterday's AP report, Capt. Wood testified that she never saw Corsetti "do anything wrong." Last week, I'd referred to Capt. Wood as one of the "Where's Waldos" of the torture and abuse scandal -- abuses took place under her watch in both Afghanistan and Iraq. It now turns out that the defense in the Corsetti case is raising issues similar to those the defense argued in the Cardona court-martial: the rules on interrogation of detainees were unclear. Of course, Capt. Wood bears part of the responsibility for setting clear rules and making sure those under her command were properly trained. She has not, however, been held accountable for her role in policies and practices (including any failure to issue clear and lawful guidance) that contributed to detainee abuse. Yesterday, AP reports, Capt. Wood testified at her subordinate's court martial under a grant of immunity from prosecution.