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No Jail Time for Officer Convicted of Killing Iraqi General
http://aolsvc.news.aol.com/news/article.adp?id=20060123171409990015 ^ | 1 24 06 | JON SARCHE

Posted on 01/24/2006 1:05:26 AM PST by freepatriot32

FORT CARSON, Colo. (Jan. 24) - A military jury recommended a simple reprimand Monday for an Army officer who killed an Iraqi general by stuffing him headfirst into a sleeping bag and sitting on his chest during an interrogation.

As soldiers applauded in the courtroom, Chief Warrant Officer Lewis Welshofer Jr. hugged his wife after hearing the surprisingly light sentence, which will be reviewed by Fort Carson's commander, Maj. Gen. Robert W. Mixon.

The commander cannot order a harsher sentence, defense attorney Frank Spinner said.

Welshofer, 43, was charged with murder, but was convicted over the weekend of negligent homicide and negligent dereliction of duty that carried a penalty of up to three years and three months in prison, a dishonorable discharge, loss of pension and other penalties.

The murder charge carried a potential sentence of life in prison. Instead, Welshofer faces no jail time, the forfeiture of $6,000 in salary and what amounts largely to a restriction to his barracks for 60 days.

"I have the utmost respect for the decision the panel members came to tonight," Welshofer said. "I'm sure it was difficult for them."

Welshofer was convicted of putting a sleeping bag over the head of Iraqi Maj. Gen. Abed Hamed Mowhoush, sitting on his chest and using his hand to cover the general's mouth while asking him questions at a detention camp in 2003 in al Qaim, Iraq.

The defense argued that a heart condition caused Mowhoush's death, and that Welshofer's commanders had approved the interrogation technique. Spinner also argued that interrogators were under pressure to extract information from detainees and to find a way to replace techniques that hadn't been working.

Spinner said Mixon can order a lighter sentence and that he might ask the general to set aside the verdict entirely. He contends his client should never have been charged.

After the sentencing, Spinner said the six-member jury apparently accepted his argument that Welshofer did what he thought was right without clear guidance from his commanders during a chaotic time.

"When you send our men and women over there to fight, and to put their lives on the line, you've got to back them up, you've got to give them clear rules, and you've got to give them enough room to make mistakes without treating them like criminals," Spinner said.

During the sentencing hearing, Welshofer fought back tears as he apologized and asked the jury not to separate him from his wife and children by sending him to prison.

"I deeply apologize if my actions tarnished the soldiers serving in Iraq," Welshofer said. "It was never my intent to cast aspersions on their tremendous accomplishments."

After his testimony, Welshofer mouthed "I love you" to his wife, Barbara, who was seated in the gallery. She told the jury she was worried about providing for their three children without her husband, but was proud of him for contesting the case.

"I love him more for fighting this," she said, tears welling up in her eyes. "He's always said that you need to do the right thing, and sometimes the right thing is the hardest thing to do."

Lt. Col. Paul Calvert, testifying on Welshofer's behalf, said attacks by Iraqi insurgents around al Qaim, the area where Mowhoush was taken into custody, "went to practically none" when Mowhoush died.

Prosecutor Maj. Tiernan Dolan suggested Mowhoush's death likely denied coalition forces valuable information. He did not call any witnesses at the sentencing hearing.

Prosecutors described Welshofer as a rogue interrogator who became frustrated with Mowhoush's refusal to answer questions and escalated his techniques from simple interviews to beatings to simulating drowning, and finally, to death.

Spinner admitted that Welshofer sat on Mowhoush while the general's face was covered by the sleeping bag. But he said Welshofer did nothing illegal, and claimed Army headquarters had told interrogators it was "time to take the gloves off" during questioning because of a need to gather information about an increasingly lethal insurgency.

The weeklong court-martial included dramatic testimony from secret witnesses. One man spoke from behind a green cloak and recalled Welshofer saying rules about interrogation techniques were probably being broken in Iraq "every day."

In the background of the trial was whether the CIA played a role in the attempts to get Mowhoush to talk. The CIA said last year that one of its officers may have been involved in the death, but the agency refused additional comment despite reports that documents said Mowhoush had been beaten by a paramilitary Iraqi group sponsored by the CIA two days before he died.

Chief Warrant Officer Todd Sonnek testified that Mowhoush had been beaten by Iraqis, but he did not identify the civilian interrogators he said were responsible.


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Front Page News; Government; News/Current Events; US: Colorado; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: anamericansoldier; colorado; convicted; courtmartial; donutwatch; for; fortcarson; general; iraq; iraqi; iraqiofficers; jail; killing; no; of; officer; terrorwar; time; waronterror; welshofer
Chief Warrant Officer Lewis Welshofer Jr.
1 posted on 01/24/2006 1:05:29 AM PST by freepatriot32
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To: freepatriot32

good


2 posted on 01/24/2006 1:10:42 AM PST by samtheman
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To: freepatriot32

My older cousins did much worse to me for absolutely no good reason.


3 posted on 01/24/2006 1:12:48 AM PST by coconutt2000 (NO MORE PEACE FOR OIL!!! DOWN WITH TYRANTS, TERRORISTS, AND TIMIDCRATS!!!! (3-T's For World Peace))
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To: freepatriot32
How are our guys supposed to know Saddam's military men were in worse shape then the democrat coward girlie-men in America?

They are military and supposed to be fit.

I wish this man well in life.
4 posted on 01/24/2006 1:19:18 AM PST by Berlin_Freeper (ETERNAL SHAME on the Treasonous and Immoral Democrats!)
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To: freepatriot32

I'm glad he got off,He doesn't deserve to spend any time in leavenworth.But that figures,he's an officer. Poor Pfc England(?)sp?, was put in prison for putting a pair of panties, on a prisoners head.


5 posted on 01/24/2006 1:22:32 AM PST by RGRX
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To: freepatriot32

Sounds like this is one of those times to be thankful for autopsies.


6 posted on 01/24/2006 1:31:20 AM PST by GretchenM (What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul? Please meet my friend, Jesus.)
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To: freepatriot32

Good for him.


7 posted on 01/24/2006 1:57:45 AM PST by stuartcr (Everything happens as God wants it to.....otherwise, things would be different.)
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To: stuartcr

Good for him



-----I agree


8 posted on 01/24/2006 2:08:47 AM PST by WasDougsLamb (I refuse to have a battle of wits with an unarmed man)
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To: freepatriot32
A military jury recommended a simple reprimand Monday for...Chief Warrant Officer Lewis Welshofer Jr....convicted over the weekend of negligent homicide

Sorry, but a simple reprimand for negligent homicide makes no sense.

9 posted on 01/24/2006 3:17:28 AM PST by libertylover (Bush spied. Terrorists died.)
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To: freepatriot32

Lyndie England gets 3 years for putting a leash on a guy's neck and this guy gets nothing. Huh?


10 posted on 01/24/2006 3:18:14 AM PST by opinionator
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To: coconutt2000
My older cousins did much worse to me for absolutely no good reason.

Hence your death at age 7.

11 posted on 01/24/2006 3:28:23 AM PST by Kjobs (Murtha IS A COWARD!! Go Jean Schmidt!)
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To: RGRX
I'm glad he got off,He doesn't deserve to spend any time in leavenworth.But that figures,he's an officer. Poor Pfc England(?)sp?, was put in prison for putting a pair of panties, on a prisoners head.

Different spanks for different ranks. Applies to everyone, not just military.
12 posted on 01/24/2006 4:12:46 AM PST by milemark (Proud to be an infidel.)
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To: libertylover

So what's Act II. Bring charges against his commanders?


13 posted on 01/24/2006 4:14:57 AM PST by HiTech RedNeck
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To: samtheman

Not good, he got the subject to die without talking.


14 posted on 01/24/2006 4:16:30 AM PST by HiTech RedNeck
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To: libertylover
Sorry, but a simple reprimand for negligent homicide makes no sense.

Applying the word homicide to the death of an enemy in a war makes no sense. Once nonsense begins, can't be surprised by wherever it leads.
15 posted on 01/24/2006 4:18:15 AM PST by milemark (Proud to be an infidel.)
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To: Kjobs

My take on what happened was that the prisoner died from causes other than the interrogation techniques used.

It is bound to happen that the stress of an interrogation may aggravate an existing medical condition.

Take for example a situation where a car narrowly avoids hitting an old man crossing a street. The old man has a heart attack due to the near miss. Is it a homicide or a death by natural causes?


16 posted on 01/24/2006 4:20:54 AM PST by coconutt2000 (NO MORE PEACE FOR OIL!!! DOWN WITH TYRANTS, TERRORISTS, AND TIMIDCRATS!!!! (3-T's For World Peace))
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To: HiTech RedNeck
So what's Act II. Bring charges against his commanders?

Bring the charges against the #@%$*&# lawyers.
17 posted on 01/24/2006 4:20:59 AM PST by milemark (Proud to be an infidel.)
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To: albertp; Allosaurs_r_us; Abram; AlexandriaDuke; Americanwolf; Annie03; Baby Bear; bassmaner; ...
Libertarian ping.To be added or removed from my ping list freepmail me or post a message he
18 posted on 01/24/2006 4:55:40 AM PST by freepatriot32 (Holding you head high & voting Libertarian is better then holding your nose and voting republican)
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To: libertylover
IMHO,one should not make a judgment until one reviews the trial transcript.
19 posted on 01/24/2006 5:07:12 AM PST by verity (The MSM is a National disgrace.)
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To: SJackson; knighthawk

ping


20 posted on 01/24/2006 5:20:30 AM PST by freepatriot32 (Holding you head high & voting Libertarian is better then holding your nose and voting republican)
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To: milemark
Bring the charges against the #@%$*&# lawyers

Amen!

21 posted on 01/24/2006 5:56:15 AM PST by Theo
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To: HiTech RedNeck
Not good, he got the subject to die without talking.

'...attacks by Iraqi insurgents around al Qaim, the area where Mowhoush was taken into custody, "went to practically none" when Mowhoush died.'

Looks like some good came from it.

22 posted on 01/24/2006 6:03:03 AM PST by Trailerpark Badass
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To: Trailerpark Badass

post hoc ergo propter hoc


23 posted on 01/24/2006 6:03:38 AM PST by HiTech RedNeck
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To: milemark; All

England did it for the kicks, she was not extracting information and she was not an interogator. This guy was doing his job, big differance.


24 posted on 01/24/2006 6:12:22 AM PST by eastforker (Under Cover FReeper going dark(too much 24))
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To: freepatriot32

"I have the utmost respect for the decision the panel members came to tonight," Welshofer said. "I'm sure it was difficult for them."

So do I. This was a military matter and the military took care of it-quite appropriately!


25 posted on 01/24/2006 6:34:56 AM PST by Mrs. Darla Ruth Schwerin
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To: coconutt2000
My older cousins did much worse to me for absolutely no good reason.

Yeah! My brothers beat the crap out of me all the time. And when I complained to my mom, she whacked me too!!

26 posted on 01/24/2006 6:40:35 AM PST by ExtremeUnction
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To: freepatriot32
Excellent news. Jack Bauer would be proud.

Lt. Col. Paul Calvert, testifying on Welshofer's behalf, said attacks by Iraqi insurgents around al Qaim, the area where Mowhoush was taken into custody, "went to practically none" when Mowhoush died.

27 posted on 01/24/2006 6:51:25 AM PST by CheneyChick
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To: freepatriot32
having this go to a trial was going to far - the officer should have just gotten a reprimand only for allowing things to get out of hand...

at least the knee-jerk sentencing of our military personnel who are in the field and making tough decisions seems to be coming to an end.

28 posted on 01/24/2006 6:54:44 AM PST by NoClones
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To: NoClones
at least the knee-jerk sentencing of our military personnel who are in the field and making tough decisions seems to be coming to an end.




It wont be long until they will have a JAG officer assigned to every squad to advise them they could be tried by courts martial under certain circumstances. Sarcasm
29 posted on 01/24/2006 7:30:48 AM PST by Americanexpat (A strong democracy through citizen oversight.)
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To: freepatriot32

If I were his Commander - Promotion and and a medal!


30 posted on 01/24/2006 7:32:10 AM PST by The Sons of Liberty (Former SAC Trained Killer)
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To: HiTech RedNeck
post hoc ergo propter hoc

Hardly.

31 posted on 01/24/2006 7:35:51 AM PST by Trailerpark Badass
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To: freepatriot32
No Jail Time for Officer Convicted of Killing Iraqi General ..........hmmmmmm...I'm good with that. All I want to know is if he got info or not... if he died prior to info, then his sleeping bag technique failed.

I say give him another Iraqi General and give him another chance. I "forgive" him.

32 posted on 01/24/2006 8:41:20 AM PST by Dick Vomer (liberals suck......... but it depends on what your definition of the word "suck" is.)
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To: Trailerpark Badass

Reminds me of Colonel Kurtz.


33 posted on 01/24/2006 9:25:17 AM PST by printhead
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To: billbears; ValenB4

Would the sentence have been different if he wasn't an officer?

He probably had that rare condition where the heart needs oxygen in order to function.

The old "I was just following orders" defense. Okay, so why weren't the commanders on trial?

But he's not sorry for killing an unarmed man in cold blood?


34 posted on 01/24/2006 11:34:16 AM PST by sheltonmac (QUIS CUSTODIET IPSOS CUSTODES)
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To: freepatriot32

"Killin' generals could get to be a habit with me."


35 posted on 01/24/2006 11:35:34 AM PST by dfwgator
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To: eastforker
England did it for the kicks, she was not extracting information and she was not an interogator. This guy was doing his job, big differance.

England didn't kill anybody, all she did was point and laugh and get her picture taken. This man should never have been tried and England should have his wrist slap.
36 posted on 01/25/2006 2:36:10 AM PST by milemark (Proud to be an infidel.)
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To: verity

Re "should not make a judgment": The man was found GUILTY of the charge of Negligent Homicide by fellow soldiers who were at the trial and heard all of the testimony, not by me. As far as whether that was the proper verdict I couldn't and didn't "make a judgment, because, like you wrote, I wasn't there. But my point was the PUNISHMENT does not fit the CONVICTION and I stand by that.


37 posted on 01/25/2006 3:18:36 AM PST by libertylover (Bush spied. Terrorists died.)
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To: libertylover
Do not play word games with me to salvage your ego.

You rendered a 'personal' judgment on this matter.

38 posted on 01/25/2006 5:07:22 AM PST by verity (The MSM is a National disgrace.)
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To: dfwgator
"Killin' generals could get to be a habit with me."

Does that include American officers?

39 posted on 01/25/2006 5:10:02 AM PST by verity (The MSM is a National disgrace.)
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To: freepatriot32
HOOOAAHHH!!!!!!

A military jury administers a wood paddle to the backside of the system. Unfortunately, there's no paying back for the $$$ that Spinner charged to defend him...

40 posted on 01/25/2006 5:15:14 AM PST by Al Simmons ("Only those are fit to live who do not fear to die" - Theodore Roosevelt)
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To: verity

Sorry to confuse you with the facts.


41 posted on 01/26/2006 3:46:39 AM PST by libertylover (Bush spied. Terrorists died.)
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To: libertylover

Appears you have the type of ego that requires having the last word. Thus I'll be charitable.


42 posted on 01/26/2006 6:10:28 AM PST by verity (The MSM is comprised of useless eaters)
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