Twelve prison guards convicted for inmate abuse at Iraq's Abu Ghraib jail may be able to use the newly released Bush-era torture memos to their advantage. At the time when photographs of prisoner abuse in the Baghdad jail were made public in 2004, President Bush said the guards depicted were "bad apples" and that torture-related guilt did not go up the chain of command. The pictures— which showed the guards physically intimidating and sexually humiliating the prisoners —became central evidence in the military's trial of the guards, who received jail sentences and dishonorable discharges from service. Now that President Obama has released memos related to Bush's administration's internal discussion of interrogation tactics, the guards' lawyers are investigating whether their clients deserve some sort of parity. But is "we were following commands" reason enough for reversal? Charles Graner—the officer convicted of being the abuse scandal’s ringleader, currently halfway through his prison sentence—is appealing his conviction on the basis that the memos prove he did not mastermind Abu Ghraib’s systematic abuse. A lawyer for fellow convict Ivan "Chip" Frederick says the memos may not provide the guards with a defense, but could suggest that his client didn’t deserve a dishonorable dischrage: "What we know is that we had at the time a rogue government that created an environment where this sort of conduct was condoned, if not encouraged."
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