An officer in Iraq who used shock interrogation tactics to thwart an impending attack on American soldiers was punished with forfeiture of two month’s pay, according to his lawyer.
Previously faced with the possibility of a court martial, Lt. Col. Allen B. West accepted Article 15 non-judicial punishment from the commanding general of the 4th Infantry Division at a hearing today in Tikrit, Iraq, said Neal A. Puckett, a retired Marine officer.
Lt. Col. Allen B. West in undated family photo (Courtesy Angela West)
Puckett said the loss of pay amounts to $5,000.
“I’m pleased that it’s over with,” West told WorldNetDaily by telephone from San Antonio, Texas. “But I thought that taking $5,000 away from a guy who is about to retire was a little bit unnecessary.
“I didn’t think that needed to be part of a sentence in order to send whatever message the commanding general thought he needed to send,” he continued.
“Simply a letter of reprimand should have done it,” Puckett insisted.
West will return to Ft. Hood, Texas, as soon as transportation can be arranged and will be assigned to the Rear Detachment of the 4th Infantry Division as he awaits the processing of his retirement request.
The punishment does not affect his eligibility for retirement and pension, Puckett said.
West’s commanding officer, Maj. Gen. Raymond Odierno, had authority to accept or reject the recommendation of administrative punishment from the officer who presided over West’s preliminary hearing in Tikrit last month, Lt. Col. Jimmy Davis.
At his preliminary hearing, West acknowledged he allowed two soldiers to beat an Iraqi policeman who refused to reveal details of an ambush plot and fired his pistol near the man’s head, threatening to kill him.
As WorldNetDaily reported, under threat of an attack, West took charge of the interrogation of an Iraqi policeman, Yahya Jhodri Hamoody, determined to flush out details as he warned subordinates “it could get ugly.” Threatening to kill the Iraqi if he didn’t talk, West fired a pistol near the policeman’s head.
The scared policeman then immediately disclosed the information, leading to the arrest of two Iraqis last August and cessation of attacks on West’s 4th Infantry Division battalion.
At the hearing last month, West was asked by his defense attorney if he would do it again.
“If it’s about the lives of my men and their safety, I’d go through hell with a gasoline can,” he said.
“But that’s what’s going on out there in the streets here, and that’s how I feel about my boys,” he told the hearing, held in one of Saddam Hussein’s lavish palaces. “There is not a person in this room I would not sacrifice my life for.”
But Army prosecutors believe his actions in the town of Saba al Boor, near Tikrit, violated the Uniform Code of Military Justice. He was charged with aggravated assault and faced a wide range of possible outcomes from no disciplinary action to a sentence of up to eight years in prison.
The prosecutors gave West a choice – face charges or resign within days of his 20 years of service, losing retirement benefits. West chose to face the charges and place his fate in the hands of Maj. Gen. Odierno.
Angela West has set up a legal fund for her husband with the following address: Allen West Defense Fund c/o Angela West, 6823 Coleman Drive, Ft. Hood, TX 76544.
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