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University of Iowa News Release

Jan. 6, 2005

U.S. Military Lawyer To Speak On Iraqi Prison Controversy Jan. 13

University of Iowa alumnus James Wherry will speak about the Abu Ghraib Prison controversy in Iraq at the first Iowa City Foreign Relations Council (ICFRC) luncheon of 2005 on Thursday, Jan. 13. The luncheon will start at noon in the Rockwood Fellowship Hall, Congregational Church, 30 N. Clinton St. in Iowa City.

Wherry's talk, "From Iraqi Invasion to Abu Ghraib: Detention Operations in Iraq and How the Media Have It Wrong," is based on his experience serving in the Judge Advocate General's (JAG) Corps in Iraq from January to August 2003 as the Legal Advisor for Detention Operations. After August, 2003, he swapped out with another attorney and was the Officer in Charge (OIC) for the Giessen Legal Center in Giessen, Germany until March 2004.

Wherry, who graduated from the UI College of Law in 1991 with a concentration in international law, has practiced law in the public and private sectors and is a member of the Illinois and Iowa State Bar Associations. When not on active duty, he works with a private law firm in the Quad Cities.

"My basic hypothesis is that the media has incorrectly reported detention operations in Iraq, over-reporting the problems and under reporting the solutions," Wherry said. "Regretfully, a small group of people at Abu Ghraib messed up our operations in Iraq and our relations with the Arab world."

During his lecture, Wherry will discuss the initial invasion and what impact the decision to go in early had on detention operations at Tallil Airbase, the opening of Camp Cropper and the logistics problems faced and the court system and getting criminal detainees into court.

He says he will also discuss the deluge of fictitious news reports over the summer of 2003, juveniles and women in custody, what he believes went wrong at Abu Ghraib, the Geneva Convention and its relevance, today; and what has to be done now.

This program is made possible with the support of Iowa State Bank & Trust Co. and Hands Jewelers Since 1854, and is sponsored by UI International Programs and ICFRC. The luncheon will be catered by Oasis Falafel. For those unable to attend the program, WSUI-AM will broadcast it on Friday, Jan. 14, following the noon news.

Please send reservation forms with a check to: ICFRC, 38 International Center, Iowa City, Iowa, 52242-1802. Reservations for the Wherry luncheon should be received in the office by noon, Tuesday, Jan. 11. Reservations are $7 for members and $8.50 for non-members.

For more information on this program, the ICFRC or special accommodations to attend this lecture, please contact Tom Baldridge at 319-335-0351.

ICFRC is a non-profit association of community and university people interested in learning more about U.S. foreign policy, world affairs and current global issues impacting world societies. The group provides members with the opportunity to hear more than 35 experts per year who visit the UI campus and the Iowa City/Cedar Rapids area.

ICFRC is part of International Programs, which consist of a number of offices, centers, degree programs, academic programs, research projects and services. Organized under the associate provost for academic programs and dean of International Programs (IP), these units serve to further internationalize the campus and community and promote global scholarship, research and teaching.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: Amy Green, 319-335-1433,; Program: Tom Baldridge, 319-335-0351,; Writer: Po Li Loo