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Abu Ghraib's message for the rank and file

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That didn't fit with what England had said earlier in the hearing - that she knew what she was doing was wrong and that it had been done for the US soldiers' amusement. The judge said he therefore could not proceed with one of the charges - conspiracy - and declared a mistrial. But that doesn't mean either that the case is dropped or that it is likely to be retried. It just means that the defense and prosecution will most likely renegotiate a new plea deal.

"The charges are not dismissed," says Eugene Fidell, a Washington lawyer and president of the National Institute for Military Justice. "They simply have to impanel a new jury, and the process will crank up again."

But to others, Graner's testimony, along with other aspects of the case, raise more questions about higher chain-of-command responsibility in the case.

England had testified earlier in the trial that she posed for the photos in humiliating or brutal ways with the Iraqi prisoners because her superior told her to do so. After the judge admonished the defense lawyers, and they left with England for lunch, she returned with a changed story - that she knew what she did was wrong.

Moreover, a former high school psychologist who worked with England said that because of her physical disabilities, he wasn't sure she could in all cases distinguish right from wrong or refrain from peer pressure. The judge took issue with that testimony as well.

More probes coming?

That may not provide new grounds for military courts-martials of superiors. But it may provide more grist for the Senate Armed Services Committee, which has held hearings and plans to hold more looking at the Pentagon's investigations into the abuses. It may also further embolden the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which has doggedly pursued the release of government documents relating to the abuses and has tried to hold higher-level officials responsible for creating the atmosphere in which they took place.

According to one retired Army general, there are clear-cut rules for accountability in the military.

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