I ended the title of this post with a question mark because all I ever see are news reports about courts-martial, I don’t claim to have any inside information about the recent number of detainee cases. But, my mass media informed perspective is that we have recently seen a rise in the number of pre-trial investigations and courts-martial based on detainee abuse/deaths in Iraq. I have absolutely no idea why we have seen a rise. Causes could be anything, maybe a statistical anomaly, an increased number of incidents, or more aggressive investigation and prosecution. Maybe we can get CAAFlog’s resident Moneyball addict to run a WWBJ series on this issue.
The Army Times, and others, reported yesterday that an Art. 32 investigation into alleged detainee deaths in Iraq in 2007. According to reports, 3 non-commissioned officers (NCOs) allegedly killed at least 4 detainees near Baghdad in Spring 2007. The status of the NCO’s cases wasn’t exactly clear from the reports. The report focused on charges that were preferred against four other soldiers for alleged conspiracy, whose Art. 32 hearing wrapped up this week. Apparently Sgt. First Class Joseph P. Mayo and Sgt. Michael P. Leahy Jr., the platoon sergeant and squad leader, respectively, for Company D, First Battalion, Second Infantry, 172nd Infantry Brigade, signed confessions to the detainee killings. News reports of the incident have purportedly come from their confessions. Here is what the NYT had to say:
In March or April 2007, three noncommissioned United States Army officers, . . . killed four Iraqi prisoners with pistol shots to the head as the men stood handcuffed and blindfolded beside a Baghdad canal, two of the soldiers said in sworn statements. After the killings, the first sergeant — the senior non-commissioned officer of his Army company — told the other two to remove the men’s bloody blindfolds and plastic handcuffs . . .
We will continue to follow these cases and others we reported on earlier here (Sgts Weemer and Nelson Art. 32 hearing for detainee killings during the Battle for Fallujah in 2004), here (Army Art. 32 in Tikrit for Staff Sgt. Warner and 1st Lt Behenna accused in the 2008 killing of detainee Ali Mansur Mohamed), and here (Navy Art. 32, SCMs, and SPCMs for 2008 abuse at Camp Buca, Iraq). An update on the Weemer case, the North County Times reported that charges were referred against Weemer on Aug. 8, 2008.