By Josh White
Washington Post Staff Writer
Iraqi Maj. Gen. Abed Hamed Mowhoush was being stubborn with his American captors, and a series of intense beatings and creative interrogation tactics were not enough to break his will. On the morning of Nov. 26, 2003, a U.S. Army interrogator and a military guard grabbed a green sleeping bag, stuffed Mowhoush inside, wrapped him in an electrical cord, laid him on the floor and began to go to work. Again.
It was inside the sleeping bag that the 56-year-old detainee took his last breath through broken ribs, lying on the floor beneath a U.S. soldier in Interrogation Room 6 in the western Iraqi desert. Two days before, a secret CIA-sponsored group of Iraqi paramilitaries, working with Army interrogators, had beaten Mowhoush nearly senseless, using fists, a club and a rubber hose, according to classified documents.
* * *
Chief Warrant Officer Lewis E. Welshofer Jr. did a first round of interrogations for 30 minutes, taking a 15-minute break and resuming at 8:45. According to court testimony, Welshofer and Spec. Jerry L. Loper, a mechanic assuming the role of guard, put Mowhoush into the sleeping bag and wrapped the bag in electrical wire.
Welshofer allegedly crouched over Mowhoush’s chest to talk to him.
Sgt. 1st Class William Sommer, a linguist, stood nearby.
Chief Warrant Officer Jeff Williams, an intelligence analyst, came to observe progress.
Investigative records show that Mowhoush “becomes unresponsive” at 9:06 a.m. Medics tried to resuscitate him for 30 minutes before pronouncing him dead.
* * *
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.”
Read more: Documents Tell of Brutal Improvisation by GIs