Coroner not best pleased over MOD cover up.

Discussion in 'Current Affairs' started by Nutty, Feb 2, 2007.

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  1. Coroner looking into the death of a Soldier killed in friendly fire incident has attacked the MOD who denied video evidence existed. Then only handed it over to him days before the hearing and are still not allowing other parties access.

    MOD BBC News

  2. To be fair to the MOD, authorisation is required from the US to show the tape since it is classified material, and they haven't given permission yet.

    Don't know why the MOD are getting the flak.
  3. I wouldn't be surprised when permission is given the tape will be doctored :wink:
  4. No wonder our troops like the Yanks to keep their distance, according to my old Dad nothing has changed since WW11.
  5. The fact that the US troops in WW2 called their Air Force "The American Luftwaffe" says it all.
  6. At the risk of not being popular again, I really do think that civvy Coroners should confine themselves to identifying the cause of death. If that is to include the circumstances, it should be broadly factual but brief. I really do not think it's their place to comment and pontificate on military operations and their conduct. That's what Boards of Inquiry are for. I also get the impression that the Coroners as a body have little liking and even less understanding of the Military. What they may consider their duty to say may be somebody else's loss of morale.

    It seems totally reasonable for operational recordings to be withheld if the consent of the owning Nation has not been given.
  7. If the information given in the Coroners Court is correct, MOD has had this film since 2004, so that's a pretty convincing reason to be taking incoming, in my view. I'm sure we're all quite aware of the abysmal record of the US forces when it comes to blue on blue mistakes, although I've no doubt that UK plc has its own blunders to cope with, but somebody has to help this family come to terms with its grief.
  8. Might be worth caveating that with as reported in the media.

    I just heard on Radio4 that it's Classified SECRET by the US, hence unable to be released. Whilst the classification system is open source, discussion of it in depth is probably inappropriate in the public domain.

    Notwithstanding that they interviewed the Deputy Head of Mission at the US embassy on R4 and he was squirming over it, but it sounds as if the decision has been passed back to CONUS.

    In any case, I'm rather in line with POL on the release issue. The Coroner has seen the imagery and is now in a position to make a judgement. He can comment on that basis.
  9. I'm with PoL on this. The poor bloke died in 2003, it's agreed it was a blue on blue and yet this civvy coroner is grandstanding in the media four years later. It has bog all to do with anyone "coming to terms with their grief" and everything to do with the coroner trying to make precedent for his "right" to pontificate on all matters military. Is the sight of this lads warrior in the HUD disintegrating under 30mm fire really going to help them?
  10. FlagWagger

    FlagWagger Book Reviewer

    No but hearing an American voice saying "Someone's going to jail over this one" might. The Americans have been quick to release declassified HUD video and audio in the past, why can;t they apply the same censoring in this case removing the operationally sensitive information from the HUD?
  11. Seadog

    Seadog War Hero Moderator

    Karma is correct. I'd also suggest that although this isn't a trial of a serving serviceman/woman the same rules apply. The deceased's family may be looking in. Keep it respectful and appropriate.

    finknottle's second post deleted. PM me if you need to be told why.
  12. You have your opinion and I have mine. The Coroner's record is good, so far, acting as he is bound to do in the interests of the truth. I don't see how adjourning the inquest in any way detracts from the situation. As to whether or not the footage will assist in the family's grieving, I agree it is probably in question, but listen to what they have to say. Grieving is a complex process, but this kind of confusion can only add to the hurt. Maybe you've been there, but if so you show precious little sign of it.
  13. The "civvy coroner" is simply doing what MOD should have done in 2003, and doing a pretty good job of it from what I can see. Don't forget that the US and MOD have been denying the existence of this video evidence for the past 4 years. It also seems like Matty Hull's family is behind the Coroner on this.

    The first reaction of MOD has been to deny, deny and then if that didn't work then to deny some more.

    There have been too many incidents of US aircraft hitting friendlies and the response of the USA is usually to attempt a cover-up of any incident.

    The Canadians went through this in Afghanistan when components of the Canadian Light Infantry Battle Group were live-firing light weapons on a range. A passing F-16 claimed that it was under attack and requested permission to bomb. Permission was denied but the pilot claimed self-defence and turned back and dropped a 500lb laser guided bomb on the Canadians. Four Canadians dead and eight badly wounded.

    Public opinion in Canada forced the Canadian government to pressure the USA for some answers and eventually the pilot was given NJP [which in itself is a cover-up]. He faced the drastic punishment of 30 days house arrest but "fortunately" he was only given a small fine.

    If you think that this might not be typical then cast your mind back to 1998 when a US E-6 Prowler hit an Italian cable-car at 300 feet altitude. This killed 20 people and it was proven that the aircraft had been purposely flying off course and below its minimum permitted altitude of 2000 feet. The US aircrew were smuggled out of Italian jurisdiction and eventually the 2 pilots were charged in the US with 20 charges of negligent homicide. The result was a foregone conclusion and both were aquitted on technicalities. Interestingly they were both found guilty of perjury for destroying video evidence of the incident. The US evaded paying any compensation by invoking a little known treaty clause and NATO was left to pick up the bill.

    If the "civvy coroner" doesn't ask the questions then sure as hell MOD won't.

  14. The coroner has todetermine for example was the death accidental or was it culpable homicide. Yes the MOD is right to with hold the tape due to the classification from public display but just as classified elements of a trila can be held in secret there should be a mechanism for the coroner to see the tape.

    If one was cynical one might suggest that the reason for the classification of the tape is that the US authorities have some thing to hide. Having dealt with targeting sytem video tapes etc myself there are ways of declassifying them often, and I have seen very few that were actually 'secret'.

    The MOD has had plenty of time to do something about this and gives the impression of prevaricating to the extreme.
  15. My inference from the media reporting is that the Coroner has seen the recording, it's just not being released into the public domain.
  16. If the yanks are saying it is secret that's that, nothing we can do but ask.
    If we were doing the same we would balk at the Americans if they were asking for our video to be aired.
    Coroner has allegedly seen the vid so it is up to him to rule, why does anyone else need to see in theatre footage?
  17. Hence my earlier point about grandstanding. If he's seen it, and if it contains evidence along the lines of the "someone's going to jail for this" quote referred to earlier then all he has to do is say so, say what the evidence is and give MoD a bucketful in public. Presumably, he knows its a foreign military tape and is therefore subject to restrictions on distribution, so again, why is he demanding release of the tape?

    BTW I do not dispute that if there's been a blue on blue with some A10/F16 jock clearly culpable through negligence or similar, then MoD should not be rolling over and pretending nothing happened. Having said that, as Bergen notes re the EA6 in Italy, and the F16 vs Canadian incident, if no penalty can be applied, why prolong the case? Just say what you believe happened with the appropriate evidence and have done with it.

    Not at all a fan of MoD's deny, deny policy, but neither do I think trial by often uninfomed or less than impartial broadcast media is a good thing.
  18. He's probably SC, given the number of military cases he's having to deal with then that's almost certain, but he probably doesn't understand the classification system in the US and how material is handed off between them and us. I'm not going to condemn him for that, I think there are few people who really appreciate the difficulties.

    It may be that he's tried private discussion and in not appreciating the implications of the release issue is trying to force someones hand.

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