Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Is torture standard?

Denver Post.com published an article by Jim Spenser.
I wish you all read it, and judge the US justice

If torture is standard, we're in for it

By Jim Spencer
Denver Post Staff Columnist

Fort Carson

Every American should be forced to see the autopsy pictures of Maj. Gen. Abed Hamed Mowhoush now on display at the trial of Chief Warrant Officer Lewis Welshofer Jr.

Welshofer is charged with murdering the Iraqi general during a November 2003 interrogation. But what's playing out in a Fort Carson courtroom is a nation's shame, not just an individual's.

The autopsy photos of Mowhoush make the now-infamous images from Abu Ghraib prison look like a costume party. Bruises and welts cover Mowhoush's dead body. Doctors ruled that Mowhoush was smothered. Officials charge that Welshofer stuffed him inside a sleeping bag, bound him with an electric cord, sat on his chest and covered his mouth. Still, there is no question that Mowhoush also was savagely beaten.

The United States, which sanctimoniously lectures the rest of the world about human rights, did this. America's political and military hierarchy approved harsher handling of military detainees after the 9/11 attacks. This is what we got.

The prosecution and defense in Welshofer's trial continue to argue about who bears responsibility. Capt. Elana Matt, a prosecutor, claimed Welshofer "abandoned the moral high ground" in his handling of Mowhoush. As testimony drones on, it looks increasingly like America's moral high ground has turned to quicksand.

Welshofer deserves punishment for killing Mowhoush. But the presidential administration and Army chain of command that lets military prisoners be stuffed in sleeping bags or wall lockers or held down to have water poured down their mouths and noses won't get their due. The "non-military" folks (read CIA) whom a witness said beat Mowhoush two days before he died have not even been charged.

Welshofer's company commander knew he was using the so-called "sleeping-bag technique."

Mowhoush probably was a "high-value facilitator of the insurgency in Western Iraq," to use the intelligence-speak of the chief prosecution witness, Chief Warrant Officer Jefferson Williams. But, as military judge Col. Mark Toole reminded everyone, "the victim is not on trial."

American principles are. Williams testified after prosecutors dropped his murder charge in Mowhoush's death. Testifying, as Williams did, under a grant of immunity, Sgt. Justin Lamb, the 3rd Armored Calvary Regiment's chief interrogator, talked about "fear up" inquisitions. That's why he invented the sleeping-bag trick. Along with packing prisoners in wall lockers, he used it to induce claustrophobia.

You slip the end of a sleeping bag over the prisoner's head and tie the bag in place, Lamb explained. Then you roll the prisoner back and forth while asking questions.

And, allegedly, if you're Lewis Welshofer, when the prisoner doesn't give you what you want, you also sit on his chest and cover his mouth.

Prosecutors claimed this was not business as usual, that it was the cowboy misbehavior of a lone outlaw. Then their star witness, Williams, took the stand and described how the sleeping-bag technique was no more extreme than many other interrogation techniques he had witnessed. Williams also said he walked away from the eight to 10 "spooks" as they started to clobber Mowhoush with rubber hoses two days before the general died. Williams admitted to hearing screams after he left. He also said he saw "four to five men" carrying the general back to his "cage" afterward.

Similarly, when Welshofer invited Williams to be part of the eventually fatal interrogation of Mowhoush, Williams agreed, but said he had to get a cup of coffee first. Williams went for a second cup of Joe as Welshofer lowered the sleeping bag over Mowhoush's head.

It was, apparently, no big thing.

For as long as it isn't, this question about the humane treatment of military prisoners remains open for all Americans:

If the sleeping-bag technique was used against your soldiers, would you consider it wrong?


Jim said...

It seems that the attitude of the ends justify the means seems to permeate our government. The next President will need years to correct the corruption of our character and to begin to repair our reputation, which has been sullied through the actions of the present Administration. Even such things as justice, for murder of all things, is found in short supply today having been dismissed as inconvenient in today's world. Yet, in World War II, a war that saw the U.S. existence as an independent and free nation most at risk, we abided by certain rules. Not now. What a disgrace.

dave bones said...


Sev deMonterey said...

Hi I'm a New Yorker; I read some of your blog in the NY Times today. I can only grieve at what my idiot country has done to yours- unfortunately we are led by the most self-confident and most ignorant faction of our ruling elites- utterly incompetent at anything useful, as I scarcely need to tell you- only good at marketing themselves and slandering their opponents. I doubt you will find much consolation in knowing that they are also leading this country into ruin- there will fairly soon be hell to pay for their fiscal mismanagement, among other things.

The Sniper said...

The Bush administrations policy of torture is not only wrong, but counter productive. It goes against everything we have taught our intell community for decades.

On teh case of this soldier, he got off a bit on the easy side, but I agree with the court's ruling that it was negligent homicide, not murder. As such, the sentance was bound to seem light, especially to those who will view Warren Officer Welshofer as a murderer.

waldschrat said...

You asked "If the sleeping-bag technique was used against your soldiers, would you consider it wrong?".

My answer: if you kill somebody using a sleeping bag, that is wrong. It doesn't matter who you kill.

You didn't ask the question "Who has shown the greatest inclination to commit outrageous acts and lie about them and unapologetically boast of them, Iraqis or Americans?" Consider the stories of clumsy beheadings, suicide bombers that slaughter children, "rape rooms", prisoners with wounds from electric drills, political violence, sectarian violence, corpses found in rivers, corpses found by roads with their hands bound, headless corpses, Iraqi corpses. Are the transgressions of the Americans really worse than the transgressions of the Iraqis?

Is this report from Uruknet the sort of stuff you would consider preferable to the "sleeping bag technique"?

Bomb near school targets British troops, wounds civilians.

In a dispatch posted at 4:30pm Mecca time Tuesday afternoon, Mafkarat al-Islam reported that a bomb exploded by a British column on the main road in the al-Andalus neighborhood in central al-Basrah

The al-Basrah correspondent for Mafkarat al-Islam reported eyewitnesses as saying that a bomb planted not far from the al-Basrah Middle School blew up by a passing British occupation patrol, damaging a tank and wounding 20 civlians, most of them children of the school.

Lets face it, Truth Teller. Biased words are not productive or believable. The truth is that that idiot smothered a bloody-handed Iraqi General, probably through stupididity and carelessness toward a man he hated. As punishment, he has been given a "reprimand" but nothing more serious. ( See http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060124/ap_on_re_us/iraq_suffocation_10

I think he might have gotten a stronger punishment if he had killed a few Iraqi school children in the process, but I cna't be sure.

War sucks. Americans can be nasty people. So can Iraqis. It seems you are more inclined to complain about the Americans than the Iraqis, at least in public. I suspect that you fear the Iraqis' opinion of your words more than the Americans, though.

Nader said...

‘the cowboy misbehavior of a lone outlaw’ is as close to heart of the matter as it could get, when it lightly captures a glimpse of a generic past legendary tale to a USA’s nineteenth centaury terrorist. However, the real issue is the violence-plagued American communities, where absolute majority could live without any conscious-crunch if tomorrow the state of Texas sends some one to the ‘mediaeval’ electric chair.

The Iraqis must know that the USA is a police run union where there is annual 36,000 crime related deaths. Not to mention their 100 million people with no access to heath-care & 35 million homeless. When we have sent home more than 2000 of their young boys in bags, they still think that it’s way below their average inner-city crimes!

The USA is based on post-colonist statistics (state-crafts) therefore; there is no space for human consciousness – unless it is cost effective, and then their sham lawyers find their ways into the game.

We must keep on hitting them hard and to the sap until it’s statistically not feasible for them to stay. How many? I‘d say not less than 10,000

As for Mr. Mowhoush, he is a hero to be remembered.

Truth teller said...


You didn't ask the question "Who has shown the greatest inclination to commit outrageous acts and lie about them and unapologetically boast of them, Iraqis or Americans?"

I didn't asked because I knew the answer!, The Iraqis. But this is new to the Iraqis, it only happened after the occupation. It seems to me that the Americans have some thing to do with it, I am not sure.

It seems you are more inclined to complain about the Americans than the Iraqis, at least in public. I suspect that you fear the Iraqis' opinion of your words more than the Americans, though.

Yes you are write, but I also complained about the Iraqis, you can see that here.





B Will Derd said...

Why does it seem that the 'victim's' status as an Iraqi general seems to make the offense more noteworthy? Was he in uniform and acting in accordance with the rules of law at the time of his capture? Nah...So should he have been treated as a spy, sabateur, and murderer of civilians while a member of a military force and out of uniform as seems more fitting? Then he should have been questioned and summarily executed by an American officer as was done in WWII when German soldiers were found to be committing such acts. Why waste a good sleeping bag on the guy?

The author of the commentary left out a detail about the beating with the rubber hoses that probably contributed to the death. He was beaten by Iraqis who were allegedly working for the CIA, but there is no evidence they were instructed to beat him. Instead, the testimony said that the beating ensued after the unfortunate general recognized one of the Iraqis and made intemperate remarks about him and his family. Not saying 'While in Iraq, do as Iraqis do', but this isn't Sweden where these things are taking place. I know TT, Iraqis only starting doing thse things when America came along. I know comedy when I see it. You have demonstrated already that you were blissfully oblivious to the hundreds of thousands of Saddam's henchmen's victims because your electricity was more reliable at the time and you had no real concern that your own safety was an issue.

The handful of outright abuses were taking place in late 2003 when things were rapidly deteriorating and casualties mounting. Those doing the interrogating were witness to the results of the suicide bombings and IEDs every day while coming under daily mortar attacks themselves. They were dealing with an enemy who observed absolutely no rules of conduct, yet we expected them to be fought under strict rules designed for conflicts among forces who both obeyed the rules. I say we, but not me.

You know the enemy is laughing their asses off when they see the hand wringing and the assigning of moral equivalency among the misguided among us. Misguided being the kindest term I can come up with to describe them. Our humanity is our primary weakness and they use it to advantage daily. Still, I wouldn't wish us to lose that humanity, I only wish we could learn to put it into context, and give those who are fighting on behalf of things we should value some benefit of the doubt and the leeway to do what they must. Which seems to be what was done in this soldier's case.

waldschrat said...

Truth teller, I believe you are a good and honest man in a country beset by madness and chaos. I wish nothing but the best for you and those you hold dear, and I hope Iraq finds peace and prosperity as soon as possible.

Reporter said...

Your insights are most helpful and necessary at this time. The difference between what is being said about Iraq and what is actually happening is daunting.

Your words seem to be supported by an interesting American current events blog:

Bruno said...

[wald] " It seems you are more inclined to complain about the Americans than the Iraqis, at least in public."

Of course, heh, the fact remains that none of this complete disaster would have been occurring without the invasion. And I like the way you summarily dismiss the general as 'bloody handed'. Alright, we'll remember that next time some random American gets kidnapped and killed, it's OK, because he was 'bloody handed'. No evidence required. of course.

Pat in NC said...

Just once I wish you would quote an article that shows the decency of the majority of Americans. I do not believe you claim Saddam was a good leader or that his henchmen did good for all Iraqis. If Americans can risk lives and fortunes to free millions of Iraqis and give them a chance at self government, if many of us support the rights of Iraqis to be the best they can be, why can you not admit one good thing about America or our leaders. Wrongs happen in war, I am not proud of the mentioned situation but I am proud of the majority of our military who have risked their lives to give all Iraqis a chance to live without a cruel dictator. Your life may temporarily be worse but the future is much brighter for the Iraqis who never lived the lifestyle you were accustomed to.

Truth teller said...


"If Americans can risk lives and fortunes to free millions of Iraqis and give them a chance at self government, if many of us support the rights of Iraqis to be the best they can be, why can you not admit one good thing about America or our leaders."

I think you get the answer here, it is part of an interview with retired lieutenant colonel from the U.S. Air Force.

" The Office of Special Plans (OSP)—a group of twenty-five people or so in August 2002—under Bill Luti. It was dissolved in August 2003—about four months after the invasion and the mission accomplished declaration by the president.

Its job had been done.

The whole idea with Iraq was to destroy Iraq. It was not to rebuild it, turn it into a democracy. It was simply to take a country that had no navy, no airforce, and a very small—you know—fourth rate army and turn it into a country with no navy, no airforce, and no army. We did this, and OSP did its part in promoting that. Once it was done there was no need for OSP."

Truth About Iraqis said...

waldschrat said...
War sucks. Americans can be nasty people. So can Iraqis. It seems you are more inclined to complain about the Americans than the Iraqis, at least in public.

Ah, no. If you think Truth Teller leans to complain more about Americans, you ain't seen nothin yet.

Try reading my stuff. I don't believe in apologies.

I think truth teller is right on.

War sucks? Really? Then why start one in a country that had nothing to do with you?
Except to suffer from 13 years of punitive sanctions (lovingly endorsed by the US) which killed 1.7 million of its people?

Americans can be nasty people? Well, keep em in your backyard. Iraqis don't want them.

We never wanted your exported nastiness.

Truth teller, aghati, you pointed to: The whole idea with Iraq was to destroy Iraq.

I would like to add that part of the idea was to destroy Iraqis as well. Destroy the scientists, destroy the thinkers, destroy the innovators, destroy the teachers and philosophers.

So that Iraq is never a nation again.

That was the plan. There was never any other.

Anonymous said...

OF COURSE! Now that you but it that way, it all becomes clear....and it has to be true because a retired Air Force LT said so. Although the second of only two facts stated by the unnamed officer is incorrect-Luti is a real name, but the OSP was not dissoved, it was renamed the Nothern Gulf Affairs Office in July 2003, or something like that. Anyway, I'm sure they are planning the plunder of some more Arab nations for the Zionists.

Speaking of retired military-TT have you heard of the Iragi General Georges Hormuz Sada? He has also made some statements in a recent book and will be meeting with some members of the Senate soon. He says that Saddam converted two Iraqi passenger airliners into cargo planes and loaded them with WMD which were then sent to Syria--Now he was only the second in command of what passed for the Iraqi Air Force, but does he deserve the same level of credence as the unnamed ret US Air Force Lt.? WMD in Syria?

Claude Dorsel said...

They're falling for it again.....57% Americans support military action in Iran


"Despite persistent disillusionment with the war in Iraq, a majority of Americans supports taking military action against Iran if that country continues to produce material that can be used to develop nuclear weapons, a Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll has found."

'if that country continues to produce material that can be used to develop nuclear weapons' ???

Truth teller said...

anon.@1/17/2006 10:55:27PM
"does he deserve the same level of credence as the unnamed ret US Air Force Lt.? "
First, the retired Air Force LT, is not unnamed. She is a female and has a name and she is well known!

The story of conversion of two passenger airlineers into cargo planes is funny. Because of two facts.
1- No passenger airlineers in Iraq since the first gulf war.
2- There was no flight from/to Iraq by any airline for the same period.

Nader said...

@ The recent ‘yawn’ cry over the alleged WMD

The man who’s been harping on the said issue is Rod D. Martin Founder and Chairman of Vanguard, is editor and co-author of “Thank You President Bush”, an anthology by America's leading conservatives examining George W. Bush's record and second term plans.” !!!

B Will Derd said...

If her name is so well known, then how about giving it? Or maybe a link where we can read this well known testimony. A search on the words you quote has brought nothing that resembles what you say was said--exactly what point you are trying to prove with the statement even if it does exist? Link to your source?

Besides numerous articles and references to the resumption of commericial domestic flights in Iraq during 2000 (including to Mosul which were among the first--you must have seen them, TT--as well as many countries resuming flights into Bagdad during that time (which caused a minor dustup in the UN), I found this reference to planeloads of 'humanitarian aid' being sent to Syria from Iraq just like the Iraqi general said: maybe this will jog your memeory

BAGHDAD, June 9, 2002 (AFP) - Iraq said Sunday it has sent 20 planeloads of humanitarian assistance to Syria to help victims of Tuesday's Zeyzoun dam collapse in the north of the neighbouring country.
"Iraqi Airways planes have made 20 flights to Damascus until today to take foodstuffs and pharmaceutical products to the victims," Transport Minister Ahmad Murtada Ahmad told the official INA news agency.

Planes continued to take off from Baghdad's international airport on Sunday in the airlift put in place on Thursday at the request of President Saddam Hussein, Ahmad said.

Iraq's Health Minister Omid Medhat Mubarak added that the sanctions-hit country would also send teams of specialised doctors, surgeons and chemists to Syria.

source corroborating the Iraqi general's claim

B Will Derd said...

OK, found who spoke the words you rely upon. Here is some background on the lady in question, I thought you may be interested in knowing more about her as was I, so I'm posting a link to an article covering her background--I found the interview with her containing the quote, which seems to support your view of a conspiracy to destroy Iraq and its people, on a website alongside discussions of the latest UFO sightings and the government consipiracy to cover them up. I'm still curous to know where you came across it? LT. Kwiatkowski/ Lyndon LaRouche

Nader said...

@Iraq sent 20 planeloads of humanitarian assistance to Syria

(The UN Country Team in Syria, under the leadership of the “UN resident Coordinator”, immediately established a coordinating mechanism to bring together the UN response and to establish a common interface with government authorities, other agencies, as well as with bilateral and multilateral donors.

The office of the Resident Coordinator in Damascus was instrumental in ensuring liaison with the highest governmental authorities and in keeping the donors up to date, in particular convening a donor briefing meeting on 10 June.

A tent warehouse was established to receive assistance coming from the ‘Red Crescent’ in Syria, the United Arab Emirates, Tunisia and Iraq. More tents, blankets, jerrycans and kitchen utensils have been distributed in the days following the dam collapse.)

>The aforementioned is a piece of news posted by the UN which clearly shows the direct UN & Red Crescent supervision & coordination of the rescue operation at the Syria’s Dam of Ziazon.

The problem with the ugly America was, from day one, the total disrespect of the UN very existence and the world’s communities too. They have chosen to ride an ass rather than build a backbone made of world’s social blocks. Their only dilemma now is for a lackadaisical wish that helps them to re-write history, of course, not to mention the elusion of war damages – of which we will foist them off into their smelly mouths and pluck them right out through their ‘defanged’ passage way like a piece of Squid.

Truth teller said...

b will derd
"I thought you may be interested in knowing more about her as was I, so I'm posting a link to an article covering her background--I found the interview with her containing the quote, which seems to support your view of a conspiracy to destroy Iraq and its people,"

I am sure in a country as big as the USA there are people with different viewpoints. I read a lot of articles about Iraq written by Americans. I chose the ones which I found closer to the reality as I live through it, not as you read or heard from other.

BTW did you read my post in the NYT web journal, about the soldier who shot me? it is a real story, happened to me.
If you did told me your opinion please.

B Will Derd said...

No, I did not read it TT! Hope you are doing well--(unless the soldier had good cause for shooting you--which I very much doubt)I'm surprised you have not written of it here or that someone hasn't posted some comment related to it.

There are enough things to read on the net without resorting to paying--especially from the NYT. But I am very interested in hearing the story if you are able to post it here without violating some agreement you have with them. Surely they don't own some copyright on your experience. I value the personal accounts that you have rarely shared here, and have never doubted their Truthfullness from your point of view.

Lynnette in Minnesota said...

I assume you are already aware of this, however, just in case.......FYI:

"Bird Flu kills teenager in northern Iraq town....

By Elisabeth Rosenthal
New York Times

A 15-year old Iraqi girl has died of bird flu, Iraqi and international health officials said Monday, indicating the arrival of the disease in another country--one that, in its war-torn condition, may be ill prepared to control it.

The finding suggests that the virus may be spreading widely--and undetected--among birds in central Asia, which is poorly equipped to identify and report infections, officials said. Avian flu has never been reported in Iraq.

As in Turkey earlier this month, the spread of the H5N1 strain of bvird flu to a new part of the world became evident only through a human death. Bird flu rarely infects humans, and usually does so late in the course of an animal outbreak, after the patient has had contact with sick birds.

The girl, Shangen Abdul Qadr, died Jan. 17 in Raniya, about 160 miles northeast of Baghdad in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq, three days after touching a dead bird infected with the virus, the Iraqi health minister said Monday. Her uncle, who died last week, is presumed to have succumbed to the disease as well.

A bird flu outbreak has killed four people and hundreds of thousands of birds in the Kurdish part of neighboring Turkey in the past six weeks. With trade routes for trucks and mules crisscrossing national borders in the large Kurdish area, health officials have been warning about spreading the disease.

Officials at the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome warned last week that bird flu had probably already spread from Turkey, but until Monday there had been no evidence.

Kurdish authorities quarantined four villages on Monday because of suspicion that birds, and possibly people, might be infected.

To contain bird flu outbreaks, sick birds must be rapidly identified and killed, along with any poultry in a surrounding safety zone. A slow start in Turkey allowed the disease to spread throughtout the country, and the government is struggling to contain 55 outbreaks in 15 provinces.

Dr. Abdul Mutalib Muhammad Ali, the Iraqi health minister, appealed for help. "We ask the international community to move fast and send our country technical assistance and health equipment," he said Monday.

At the moment, humans can only contract bird flu through close onctact with infected poultry; about 150 people worldwide have contracted the disease. But scientists worry that the virus may mutate and spread between humans, setting off a pandemic."

Any typos are mine. This was in the paper on Teusday Jan. 31.

Anonymous said...

If there is nothing to distinquish
American methodolgies (ie.torture)
from terrorist methodoligis, what
then is the difference between us?

Truth teller said...

Anonymous @2/02/2006 05:51:52 AM

We reject and refuse torture from any source.
"what then is the difference between us?"

There is a clear difference, the "terrorists" are "terrorists", they didn't obey any rules, The US is the superpower that all the time spoke about democracy and freedom and declared to spread it to all other countries!!.

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