This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes", May 5, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.
ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: The allegations of prison abuse in Iraq.
We've all seen the disturbing pictures by now. Is there any possible explanation?
Guy Womack is representing Specialist Charles Graner, one of the U.S. soldiers accused of abusing prisoners.
Mr. Womack, welcome to the show. What do you believe your client did?
Can you hear me OK? What do you believe your client did?
GUY WOMACK, LAWYER FOR SPC. CHARLES GRANER: Well, what my client did was follow orders.
He was a military policeman stationed there in Iraq, with his unit of Maryland. They were called to active duty, deployed to Iraq. And he was a traffic cop for the first several months.
Then in around October 2003, he and the rest of his company were rotated to Abu Ghraib (search), where for the first time they became prison guards. That's about the same time, it appears, that the mission of the prison switched from a detention center, pure and simple, to a point for interrogations.
COLMES: You say he followed orders. What were the orders?
WOMACK: The orders were to create a climate conducive to psychologically manipulating and interrogating prisoners.
COLMES: What did he do to create that climate?
WOMACK: Among other things, they would deprive the prisoners of sleep.
The photographs that are out show that they would also pose them in humiliating and degrading ways that would be especially offensive to an Islamic male.
Things that would cause you to break down the will and the psyche of those individuals.
COLMES: How do you defend that?
WOMACK: Well, I just did.
COLMES: On what grounds?
WOMACK: He was ordered to do it by military intelligence officers. He had an obligation...
COLMES: Is the argument always, "OK, they were just following orders?"
Is there a point at or past which you would say, "I'm sorry, but those are not appropriate orders. We know what the Geneva Conventions (search) state. And even though those are the orders, we have to speak out about it"?
WOMACK: Absolutely. And you said it correctly.
If you reach a point you think you have violated Geneva Convention or other American laws, you have an obligation to refuse to obey the order. This did not rise to that level.
Keep in mind that he was in that prison, watching the operations of the prison and how the intelligence officers were conducting business. He was one of many soldiers doing their duty. And when he was ordered to participate, he did.
COLMES: Well, you know, the third Geneva Convention...
WOMACK: ... regular Army.
COLMES: The third convention requires prisoners be treated humanely. That's what it says. They have to be protected from violence, intimidation and public curiosity.
The fourth convention protects prisoners from inhumane treatment. Are you saying that none of these barriers were crossed in the treatment that these prisoners got by your client?
WOMACK: To you and me and people sitting back here in the states, it looks horrendous. To a soldier at that prison who had been there for months, watching how the prisoners were treated, you would feel that this is the way interrogations are done.
None of the regular Army personnel intervened and stopped this. So no, it did not appear to be inhumane.
COLMES: Well, that may be the point of contention here.
You've also said you want the president to stop tainting the jury by the statements he made. I think the president, with whom I often disagree, has made very appropriate statements here. And indeed, talking about how disgusted we all are as Americans by this.
What would you expect him to say?
WOMACK: Prime Minister Blair (search) today made a statement about their own investigation of their own troops. And he said that he was waiting to hear the results of the investigation and to let the system work. That's what we should say.
COLMES: He did say that.
WOMACK: But President Bush is not trying to taint that. But the comments that have been quoted from the president and from his chairman of the joint chiefs, from the secretary of defense, today from General Miller, and from other general officers within the Army chain of command, imply that these soldiers, the foot soldiers at the very base level, are guilty of a crime and must receive severe punishment.
It violates the rules for court-martial; 104 states no one is subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice may say or do anything that would tend to influence or coerce a court or a member of the court. Members of the court are jurors.
I think the comments within the Army chain of command, all the way up to the commander-in-chief, may taint the commanding general who would refer the charges...
SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Let me...
WOMACK: ... and also members who may sit on that trial.
HANNITY: Mr. Womack, thank you for being with us.
I want to go back to this issue, which you were just referring to here, that your client was told by higher ups to do this. That's your claim, correct?
WOMACK: Yes, it is.
WOMACK: And it's not only my claim. General Karpinski has said that.
HANNITY: Are you prepared to name the names?
WOMACK: Well, General Karpinski has stated that it was members of the military intelligence command who was running the prison.
HANNITY: I didn't ask you that. Are you prepared -- Are you prepared, as this case moves forward, to name the names of the people that you claim told your client to do this to these prisoners?
WOMACK: Of course, I will have to.
HANNITY: OK. You're going to have to. That's what I wanted to get to here.
WOMACK: I don't know the names, Sean, now. But we will. We know they exist. We don't know them.
HANNITY: You're claiming that these photographs were obviously staged, part of a psychological manipulation and part of an interrogation that you're saying, including government agencies and the CIA, too?
WOMACK: I think so.
HANNITY: You think so or you know so?
WOMACK: From General Karpinski's statement, it would appear the CIA and other government agencies were involved. Also, civilian contract intelligence agencies, private companies.
HANNITY: Yes. Now, was your client ordered to smile? Was your client ordered to take pictures of himself? Or is that something that your client did on his own? Because your client, I understand, is in the picture.
WOMACK: I don't think he took pictures of himself.
HANNITY: Well, they took pictures of each other. Excuse me. And they took pictures of each other. And your client is seen in some of these photos. Was he ordered to do that? It seems like some of these guys were just having too good a time.
WOMACK: Of course, they were ordered to do that. Look at the photographs. They're very clearly staged. Even the pictures of sodomy, they're not really being committed. They're simulated.
Now, this was ordered. It was created by these intelligence officers to psychologically break down these people to be interrogated.
HANNITY: They have -- but they have -- how could they break them down if they're taking pictures with them and they have bags over their heads, and they don't even know their pictures are being taken. How is that possible?
WOMACK: They know they're in those poses. They may have been shown the photographs. We don't know how they were used.
Think of people who have been kidnapped, raped by their kidnappers and ultimately fell in love with their kidnappers and cooperated with them.
HANNITY: The Geneva Convention, doesn't it protect civilians, civilians who have committed crimes, et cetera, et cetera? You're saying this doesn't rise to the level of the Geneva Convention? Or you think it does rise to that?
WOMACK: I'm not defending the tactic at all. I'm telling you that those soldiers who were guarding these prisoners, and who were under the direct supervision and direction of intelligence officers, complied with orders that they thought were legal. I don't like the tactics at all.
HANNITY: Yes. And did your client not want to do this? You're saying your client had no choice but to obey these orders?
WOMACK: That's correct. And he did complain, as did virtually all, if not all of the soldiers in that wing.
HANNITY: Yes. But I think they're going to have a hard time proving that with the smiles on their face as they pointed to the naked body parts of some of these prisoners.
I think they're going to have a very difficult case to make, just based on their smiles and the pictures.
WOMACK: Smiling, even if it were on their own, is not a crime.
HANNITY: But you're going to say it's coerced.
WOMACK: Staging the acts is what we're offended by.
HANNITY: I think -- Counselor, my opinion is you're going to have a hard time.
I want to ask you a question about John Kerry. John Kerry is politicizing this. He wants Donald Rumsfeld (search) to resign. Yet John Kerry (search) himself admitted to violating the Geneva Convention and mistreating people in Vietnam (search).
Is there a double standard from his part? On his part?
WOMACK: Of course. I think that killing noncombatants and shooting a fleeing soldier who had dropped his weapon may be more severe than taking pictures of Iraqis simulating sodomy.
HANNITY: Look I -- there's a very fine line here, and I think your client deserves his day in court here. But you've got to admit the American people, I think, have every right to be outraged, based on the early indications.
WOMACK: Absolutely. Because the pictures have been presented out of context. The military jury is going to hear this case in Iraq, will consist of Army officers who were combat veterans, who have been working with the intelligence community throughout their occupation.
COLMES: Mr. Womack, we're just out of time. Thank you for being with us tonight.
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