"A hearing opens in Iraq today to determine whether a US officer should be court-martialed for charges including aiding the enemy.
Army Lieutenant Colonel William Steele, a reservist from Virginia serving full time, is accused of nine violations of military law while he commanded a military police detachment at a main detention centre in Baghdad.
The charges include providing an unmonitored mobile phone to detainees, fraternizing with a prisoner's daughter, illegally storing and marking classified material, maintaining an inappropriate relationship with an interpreter, possessing pornographic videos, failure to obey an order and dereliction of duty regarding government funds.
The most serious charge, aiding the enemy, relates to Steele's time at the jail at Camp Cropper and could carry a death sentence."
KIM GAMEL, Associated Press Writer
One of the charges relates to adherence to General Order #1 which is the statute that prohibits Alcohol or Pornography. The Army views almost everything as Porn in its puritan restrictions on soldier freedoms so I can’t lecture on that charge – we’ll save that for another day.
The charges relating to potentially aiding the enemy, inappropriate actions with respect to prisoners and their families and careless handling of classified materials extend beyond this officer. If these charges are even partially true, he clearly put at risk his unit, and its soldiers as well as other coalition forces. The charges may not warrant the death penalty as we know them now, however this officer is alleged to have needlessly endangered soldiers for what appears to be his own interests. If allegations are proven true he has embodied a soldier that has sold his loyalty and the price of such treason should be significant.