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Interrogator Convicted, Gets No Jail, Just a Reprimand

Bump and Update: (TL) Unbelievable. Chief Warrant Officer Lewis Welshofer, Jr. convicted of manslaughter for killing an Iraq military officer during an interrogation is sentenced to no jail and a reprimand. Soldiers in the courtroom cheered at the sentence. How disgusting, there simply is no other word for it.

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Original Post (Jan 22):

by TChris

In a series of posts (collected here), TalkLeft has followed the military's response to the death of Iraqi military officer Abed Hamed Mowhoush during an abusive interrogation. The trial is over and the verdict is in:

An Army interrogator committed negligent homicide when he put a sleeping bag over an Iraqi general's head and sat on his chest as the man suffocated, a military jury found. ...

After six hours of deliberations, the panel of six Army officers spared [Chief Warrant Officer Lewis] Welshofer [Jr.] on the more serious charge of murder - which carries a potential life sentence - instead convicting him late Saturday of negligent homicide and negligent dereliction of duty. He was acquitted of assault.

Welshofer is scheduled to be sentenced Monday. He faces a maximum of three years and three months in prison.

[Image created exclusively for TalkLeft by CL.]

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  • Display: Sort:
    Re: Interrogator Convicted, Gets No Jail, Just a R (none / 0) (#1)
    by Al on Sun Jan 22, 2006 at 12:20:27 PM EST
    I suggest Mr. Welshofer serve his sentence in an Iraqi prison. Killing a captive who cannot defend himself is the supreme act of cowardice. How sad it is that the military condones cowardice.

    Re: Interrogator Convicted, Gets No Jail, Just a R (none / 0) (#2)
    by Johnny on Sun Jan 22, 2006 at 01:30:08 PM EST
    3 years for summarily executing a human being w/o judge and jury?

    And don't forget, everyone, that this is just an isolated incident and the U.S. does not condone or use torture. And all those many other allegations and convictions for torture, those were isolated too.

    Re: Interrogator Convicted, Gets No Jail, Just a R (none / 0) (#4)
    by scarshapedstar on Sun Jan 22, 2006 at 03:40:58 PM EST
    An Army interrogator committed negligent homicide when he put a sleeping bag over an Iraqi general's head and sat on his chest as the man suffocated
    Negligent????

    Three years? This makes me physically sick.

    Re: Interrogator Convicted, Gets No Jail, Just a R (none / 0) (#6)
    by aw on Sun Jan 22, 2006 at 04:37:50 PM EST
    Yes. Three years. Where are the law and order guys?

    Re: Interrogator Convicted, Gets No Jail, Just a R (none / 0) (#7)
    by Peter G on Sun Jan 22, 2006 at 07:58:43 PM EST
    If he didn't intend to kill -- which I gather he didn't -- then it wasn't first degree murder. While reported facts make the case sound more like second degree murder (death results from an intent to injure but not to kill, or from a reckless disregard for the risk to life) there is a fine line between that offense and negligent homicide, which despite its name requires proof of a gross disregard for the standards which govern behavior in the circumstances. Remember also there was evidence that the guy had a green light from higher officers for his repulsive and brutal behavior. While the sentence seems light, the homicide verdict does not necessarily strike me as legally wrong. What wrong here is the failure to prosecute him for torture and cruel treatment.

    I did a year in the Arapahoe county jail for my third DUI in fifteen years(no accidents or injuries).And then there are the fines, the classes and loss of driving privleges for a minimum two years, plus all the financial burdens thrown on top. What kind of message do sentences like this guy receives show about our society?

    Re: Interrogator Convicted, Gets No Jail, Just a R (none / 0) (#9)
    by wg on Sun Jan 22, 2006 at 09:09:25 PM EST
    I never cease to be amazed by the resourcefulness of our legal system when it comes to defending their own. A few ounces of prohibited substance can get you 25 years, a premeditated murder committed under the color of law 3 years tops. It is not that the statues are that lenient, it is rather that the system is extremely adept at shielding their own. Statues help only by providing a range of options which somehow always work for the defendant provided he works for the government. Obvious attempts to officially shield police, prison guards are relatively rare, the so called "qualified immunity" being the most brazen and offensive. Not unsurprisingly there is a sense in the "law enforcement" community of immunity from prosecution. Results are plain to see, "jack boot" or "occupation force" mentality and police killing rates that are unheard of in other countries. Sometimes I think we pay price for political stability, the system had a couple of centuries to develop methods and techniques to protect itself from effective oversight, in Europe political systems collapse often so there is a chance to shed accumulated totalitarian crud from time to time. We just accumulate.

    Re: Interrogator Convicted, Gets No Jail, Just a R (none / 0) (#10)
    by wg on Sun Jan 22, 2006 at 09:12:17 PM EST
    BTW, the gentleman was convicted of negligent homicide which is generally restricted to: ... the death of small infants or children, the handicapped, or the elderly. An example of such a case is when an elderly person is allowed to accumulate bedsores, as they are not helped out of a couch or bed for a prolonged period of time and die as a result of necrotic tissue ... and as such treated quite leniently (3 years at most here). Obviously there is total disconnect between what transpired in that interrogation room and what was charged. Plain old murder would unquestionably be far more appropriate qualification here: When a defendant intentionally or knowingly causes death, he commits murder. .... The intent to commit murder ... can be inferred when the defendant intends to cause great bodily harm to his victim.

    its just part of the show.

    Re: Interrogator Convicted, Gets No Jail, Just a R (none / 0) (#12)
    by Johnny on Mon Jan 23, 2006 at 11:49:41 PM EST
    Well so much for the myth of "good vs evil" and the "rule of law". So much for the myth of accountability. This is an activist judge, no doubt about it. Wrong wingers are sick in the head for supoorting this kind of behavior. Thanks Dubya, for reminding everyone how disgusting people can be, especially when it comes to murdering brown people. Thanks Dubya for helping to create an entire subculture of yet more Americans dedicated to hatred of a group of people based solely on their skin color. Thanks Dubya, from you we have our soldiers, the ones the wrong wingers constantly remind us to support, cheering at the fact one of their own got away with murder.

    Re: Interrogator Convicted, Gets No Jail, Just a R (none / 0) (#13)
    by roxtar on Tue Jan 24, 2006 at 01:20:07 AM EST
    Thanks, Mr. Preznit, Billions of dollars and thousands of American lives were well worth it, as long as we can eliminate the torture rooms, and prevent Saddam from torturing and killing political prisoners with impunity.(/snark) Here's another scandal for the Conservative Corporate Controlled Press (CCCP) to sweep under the rug. That rug must be one lumpy bastard by now, don't you think?

    Re: Interrogator Convicted, Gets No Jail, Just a R (none / 0) (#14)
    by jen on Tue Jan 24, 2006 at 04:43:29 AM EST
    Remind me again.. how long did SPECIALIST Graner get? How long did PRIVATE FIRST CLASS England get? And this guy got... WHAT?????

    From the article:
    killed an Iraqi general by stuffing him headfirst into a sleeping bag and sitting on his chest during an interrogation... 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.
    Not even a less-than-honorable discharge for homicide?

    Well, he is technically an officer, and officers don't get punished by the officer corps that makes up courts martial. The Army had a major investigation of Abu Ghraib...nobody above the rank of major was indicted. 8^) Welcome to the New World Order.

    Re: Interrogator Convicted, Gets No Jail, Just a R (none / 0) (#17)
    by Che's Lounge on Tue Jan 24, 2006 at 07:33:29 AM EST
    To all those who say the left is enabling the insurgency by objecting to the evil that is Bush's War, I can assure you that this kind of punishment for murder (excuse me, negligent homicide) will surely send a strong message that our soldiers can pretty much kill whomever they want with little or no consequences. Great example of western justice. I can hear Chalabi breathing a sigh of relief. And to Blackwater mercs: You go Boys!

    Attorneys for Chief Warrant Officer Lewis Welshofer Jr. said he believed the general had information that would "break the back of the whole insurgency" at a time when soldiers were being killed in an increasingly lethal and bold resistance.
    So he killed someone with extremely valuable information. I wonder if he understands the meaning of "bloody irony".

    Re: Interrogator Convicted, Gets No Jail, Just a R (none / 0) (#19)
    by soccerdad on Tue Jan 24, 2006 at 02:11:42 PM EST
    Re: Interrogator Convicted, Gets No Jail, Just a R (none / 0) (#20)
    by Dadler on Tue Jan 24, 2006 at 02:15:51 PM EST
    To echo Jen, How much time in prison did the underlings get? How many people did Lynde England kill? To say something is slightly outta whack here is a criminal understatement.

    It's news stories like this that really make me not want to support our troops.