View Full Version : Report: CIA Officials Involving In Iraqi Beatings

07-27-2005, 07:03 PM
Report: CIA officials involving in Iraqi beatings


By The Associated Press Wednesday, July 27, 2005

DENVER (AP) -- Classified U.S. personnel used a sledgehammer handle to beat prisoners in Iraq, according to a National Guard soldier who testified during a closed military hearing involving four Colorado-based soldiers in March.

Sgt. 1st Class Gerold Pratt of the Utah National Guard said he saw the unidentified personnel use a 15-inch wooden handle to hit prisoners.

"They'd ask you a question, and if they didn't like it, they'd hit you," he said, according to a transcript of the hearing obtained this week by The Denver Post.

The hearing will determine whether three Fort Carson soldiers will stand trial for the death of Iraqi Maj. Gen. Abed Hamed Mowhoush during an interrogation in 2003: Chief Warrant Officer Jefferson Williams and Spec. Jerry Loper, who are charged with murder, and Sgt. 1st Class William Sommer, whose final charges are pending.

Another soldier, Chief Warrant Officer Lewis Welshofer, is also charged with murder. He has waived his right to a hearing.

Pratt, who was running logistics at the detention facility near Qaim at the time, said he recalled an official mocking the prisoners he was beating.

"Well, particularly after the general was killed. I don't remember the exact words, but he was mocking the fact that the general died," Pratt testified.

Most identifying information in the transcript was redacted, but one exchange suggests the CIA was involved.

"To your knowledge, SFC Sommer did not accompany any of these CIA folks?" defense attorney Capt. Michael Melito asked Pratt.

A CIA spokeswoman declined comment.

The Army said Mowhoush died of asphyxiation from chest compression. Charging documents in the case said he was killed with an electrical cord, and a Pentagon investigation reportedly says a soldier sat on Mowhoush as he was restrained headfirst inside a sleeping bag.

The soldiers could get life in prison without parole if they are tried and convicted. All have denied wrongdoing, saying commanders had sanctioned their actions.

Previous testimony indicated the Iraqi general's body was badly bruised and he may have been severely beaten two days before he was suffocated.

Pratt testified that Williams threw a heavy box of food at Mowhoush. Williams' attorney, William Cassara, said he was sure other officials were involved in prisoner abuse.

"I have no doubts that other government agencies used methods of interrogation that were much worse," Cassara said.