Dead Iraqi’s Role Described in Army Murder Case

FT. CARSON, Colo. — An Iraqi general who died while stuffed in a sleeping bag during an interrogation by U.S. soldiers was “the head of the insurgency in western Iraq and in charge of ferrying foreign fighters into the country in the fall of 2003”, according to witnesses who testified Friday at the murder trial of the lead interrogator.

Maj. Gen. Abed Hamed Mowhoush, 57, died after 16 days in American captivity while undergoing interrogation in a sleeping bag, wrapped in an electric cord. Chief Warrant Officer Lewis E. Welshofer Jr. was sitting on his chest, occasionally placing his hand over the prisoner’s mouth.

Testimony in Welshofer’s Army court-martial concluded Friday, and the case is expected to go to a six-officer panel today. Welshofer faces up to life in a military prison if convicted.

Two intelligence officers with the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, to which Welshofer was assigned in 2003, testified that Mowhoush was a much sought-after target as the insurgency strengthened in the region around the border town of Qaim.

“Anything that went through that town ran through him,” Maj. Robert Short said on the witness stand. “You can liken him to a mob boss in the 1920s.”

Short and another intelligence officer, whose testimony was read in court because he was still in Iraq, said Mowhoush led the insurgency in the region. Other insurgent groups deferred to Mowhoush, who had been a general in Saddam Hussein’s Republican Guard, Short said.

The judge, Col. Mark Toole, warned that Mowhoush was not on trial but allowed witnesses to describe Mowhoush’s intelligence value so the officers panel could decide whether Welshofer was willfully derelict in his duty to protect the prisoner’s health.

More below the fold …

Prosecutors contend that Welshofer had been aware of general guidelines on permissible interrogation set by the top commander in Iraq at the time, Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez.

One witness who testified from behind a curtain this week, and who apparently works for the CIA, said that the day before Mowhoush died, Welshofer told the witness that he was aware of regulations but was “breaking those rules every day”. Welshofer denies making that statement.

Maj. Gen. Abed Hamed Mowhoush Surrendered

Mowhoush surrendered to U.S. forces Nov. 11, 2003, hoping to secure release of his four captured sons. Lt. Col. Paul Calvert, a top officer with the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, testified that good intelligence was crucial at that time because U.S. forces did not know who was behind the growing insurgency.

“We lived and died off intelligence,” Calvert said. “Intelligence is what drove operations. The lack of intelligence and information significantly impeded our ability to do operations.”

    Maj. Tiernan Dolan, the lead prosecutor, asked Calvert whether there were standards in obtaining that information.

    “There is a right way and a wrong way,” Calvert said.

    “That’s what makes our Army what it is, isn’t it?” Dolan asked. “Always standing on the high ground?”

    Calvert agreed and left the witness stand, ending the defense’s case.

Torture by proxy: a victim’s story ◊ by IdiotSavant
Tue Aug 2nd, 2005 at 08:55:27 AM PST

Today’s Guardian has more evidence against the US on its use of torture by proxy in a secret network of ghost prisons in allied countries – in the form of a sickening account from someone who has experienced the system firsthand. Benyam Mohammed, a British resident who grew up in London, is currently being held as an “enemy combatant” in Guantanamo Bay.  Before that, he was held for two and a half years, during which time he was shuttled between prisons in Pakistan, Morocco and Afghanistan. Despite the US being a party to the Geneva Conventions, the Red Cross was never informed of his capture.

Afghanistan  ‘One Huge US Jail’  

Related Accounts WaPo by GIs

Interrogated general’s sleeping-bag death, CIA’s use of secret Iraqi squad are among details

Iraqi Maj. Gen. Abed Hamed Mowhoush was being stubborn with his American captors, and a series of intense beatings and creative interrogation tactics were not enough to break his will. On the morning of Nov. 26, 2003, a U.S. Army interrogator and a military guard grabbed a green sleeping bag, stuffed Mowhoush inside, wrapped him in an electrical cord, laid him on the floor and began to go to work. Again.

It was inside the sleeping bag that the 56-year-old detainee took his last breath through broken ribs, lying on the floor beneath a U.S. soldier in Interrogation Room 6 in the western Iraqi desert. Two days before, a secret CIA-sponsored group of Iraqi paramilitaries, working with Army interrogators, had beaten Mowhoush nearly senseless, using fists, a club and a rubber hose, according to classified documents.

The sleeping bag was the idea of a soldier who remembered how his older brother used to force him into one, and how scared and vulnerable it made him feel. Senior officers in charge of the facility near the Syrian border believed that such “claustrophobic techniques” were approved ways to gain information from detainees, part of what military regulations refer to as a “fear up” tactic, according to military court documents.

Front page article by Washington Post and diary @dKos —
WaPo – The Death of Iraqi Maj. Gen. Abed Hamed Mowhoush
WaPo – Documents Tell of Brutal Improvisation by GIs ◊ by Aznomad @dKos

Torture | Murder Mowhoush Front Page @dKos
Front page article ●  Not Torture, Just Murder ◊ by mcjoan

"But I will not let myself be reduced to silence."  


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