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Documents Tell of Brutal Improvisation by GIs
In a preliminary court hearing in March for Williams, Loper and Sommer, retired Chief Warrant Officer Richard Manwaring, an interrogator who worked with Welshofer in Iraq, testified that using the sleeping bag and putting detainees in a wall locker and banging on it were "appropriate" techniques that he himself used to frighten detainees and make them tense.
Col. David A. Teeples, who then commanded the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, told the court he believed the "claustrophobic technique" was both approved and effective. It was used before, and for some time after, Mowhoush's death, according to sources familiar with the interrogation operation.
"My thought was that the death of Mowhoush was brought about by [redacted] and then it was unfortunate and accidental, what had happened under an interrogation by our people," Teeples said in court, according to a transcript.
The CIA has tried hard to conceal the existence of the Scorpions. CIA classification officials have monitored pretrial hearings in the case and have urged the court to close much of the hearing on national security grounds. Redacted transcripts were released only after lawyers for the Denver Post challenged the rulings.
Autopsy Shields CIA
The Armed Forces Institute of Pathology's standard "Autopsy Examination Report" of Mowhoush's death was manipulated to avoid references to the CIA. In contrast to the other autopsy reports of suspicious detainee deaths released by the Army, Mowhoush's name is redacted and under "Circumstances of Death," the form says: "This Iraqi [redacted] died while in U.S. custody. The details surrounding the circumstances at the time of death are classified."
Williams was arraigned yesterday on a murder charge and is scheduled for court-martial in November, a Fort Carson spokeswoman said. Welshofer's court-martial is set for October. Loper and Sommer have not been referred for trial. Commanders are still considering what, if any, punishment to impose.
Frank Spinner, an attorney for Welshofer, said his client is going to fight the murder charge. Reading from a statement prepared by Welshofer during his Article 32 hearing this spring, Spinner quoted his client as saying that he is proud of the job he did and that his efforts saved U.S. soldiers' lives. "I did not torture anyone," Spinner quoted him as saying.
William Cassara, who represents Williams, cited Mowhoush's brutal encounters in the days before he died as possibly leading to his death. He said Williams, who was not trained in interrogation tactics, had little to do with the case.
"The interrogation techniques were known and were approved of by the upper echelons of command of the 3rd ACR," Cassara said in a news conference. "They believed, and still do, that they were appropriate and proper."
Staff writer Dana Priest contributed to this report.