Sunday, January 22, 2006

You say "interrogate", I say "insuffocate"

Chief Warrant Officer Lewis E. Welshofer Jr.Convicted killer Lewis Welshofer Jr.

Interrogator Convicted in Iraqi's Death
FT. CARSON, Colo. — A military jury late Saturday convicted an Army interrogator of negligent homicide in the death of an Iraqi general who had been stuffed face-first into a sleeping bag.

After seven hours of deliberations, the six-officer panel found Chief Warrant Officer Lewis E. Welshofer Jr. guilty of the charge, which carries a maximum sentence of three years in military prison. Had he been convicted of murder, he could have been given a life sentence...

The verdict in the court-martial came hours after Spinner contended that the interrogator had been heeding an August 2003 e-mail from the office of the U.S. commander in Iraq.

The e-mail cited by the defense, from Capt. William Ponce, said: "The gloves are coming off, gentlemen…. We want these individuals broken. Casualties are mounting."

In a reply to the e-mail, Welshofer wrote that the military needed to loosen its standards, which he said were more useful during World War II. "Today's enemies, especially in southwest Asia, understand force, not … mind games."

Welshofer was rebuked for suggesting violations of the Geneva Convention. But two weeks later, a Sept. 10 memo from the top commander in Iraq authorized several new interrogation techniques, including one that Welshofer says gave him permission to stuff Maj. Gen. Abed Hamed Mowhoush into the sleeping bag, bind him with an electrical cord, straddle his chest and occasionally cover his mouth...

Welshofer had interrogated the general several times, once slapping him in the chest, before the interviews turned markedly more violent, according to witnesses at the trial. Iraqi nationals apparently in the employ of the CIA entered the interrogation room Nov. 24 and beat Mowhoush for 30 minutes with rubber hoses and insulation...

Though court rules forbade anyone from naming the CIA during the trial, Spinner questioned why "civilian interrogators" who presided over a beating were not being prosecuted...
If you read the full article, it sounds more like first-degree murder than negligent homicide. Yes, his victim was tortured by the CIA as well. Yes, his superiors approved dangerous tactics and told interrogators "we want these individuals broken." But Welshofer is clearly a sadist who was pushing the limits. And he didn't help the anti-terror cause, either. Even with as valuable a detainee as Mowhoush, Welshofer was more interested in torturing prisoners than getting information.

So much for making America safer: this guy will be loose on the streets in less than three years.


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