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Abu Ghraib Intelligence Boss Relieved of Command

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 13, 2005 – Interrogation practices at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison in 2003 and early 2004 have cost a brigade commander his job.

Army Col. Thomas M. Pappas, commander of the 205th Military Intelligence Brigade, was relieved of his command by Gen. B.B. Bell, commander of U.S. Army Europe, after the colonel was administratively punished for two instances of dereliction of duty.

Maj. Gen. Bennie E. Williams, commander and general courts-martial convening authority for the Army's 21st Theater Support Command, started nonjudicial punishment proceedings against Pappas on April 2. He decided to take action under Article 15 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice following an extensive review of the investigations regarding the role of military intelligence personnel at the Baghdad Central Confinement Facility, officials said.

The action alleged that Pappas failed to ensure that subordinates received adequately information, training and supervision in the applying interrogation procedures. He also allegedly failed to obtain the approval of superior commanders before authorizing a nonsanctioned interrogation technique, specifically the presence of military working dogs during the questioning of a detainee.

On May 9, Pappas chose not to demand trial by court-martial, and the nonjudicial proceedings continued. Williams conducted a hearing during which Pappas presented evidence on his behalf. After the hearing, Williams found that Pappas had committed both offenses as alleged.

Based on his finding, Williams imposed administrative punishment on Pappas: a written reprimand and forfeiture of $4,000 pay per month for two months. The maximum punishment that could have been imposed under Article 15 of the UCMJ in this instance was 30 days house arrest or 60 days restriction, a written reprimand, and forfeiture of $4,087 per month for two months, officials said. The punishment was not suspended, and took effect May 9.

Williams also chose to file a record of the proceedings and written reprimand in Pappas's official military records. Pappas elected not to appeal the decision.

"The U.S. Army remains strongly committed to the rule of law," said a written statement issued by U.S. Army Europe headquarters. "As in this case, allegations of misconduct are taken seriously, investigated, and when appropriate, punished."

(From a U.S. Army Europe news release.)

Contact Author

Biographies:
Gen. B.B. Bell, USA
Maj. Gen. Bennie E. Williams, USA

Related Sites:
U.S. Army Europe



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