Well after last weeks weak and unprofessional reporting, I must applaud the channel 4 production team for this emotional programme. A well balanced documentary, showing the inept way in which the armed forces investigate certain events, and how mass amnesia can effect people when it suits, whatever your opinion you cannot deny that some of the reasons and circumstances resulting in the death of serving soldiers reported are very dubious to say the least.
The same can be said for the Police force, NHS, DHSS and any other large beurocratic organisation. You may find HM Forces can be a tad more dangerous at times due to the nature of the job. You wouldn't have imagined that though? Sad as it is, it happens. No bites from this end lofty. Just another fourth rate production company sensationalising an issue that is hard for the relatives but a fact of life. Jumping on the band wagon of the pi55ed off journos who couldn't report their name is not 'entertainment'.
Anyone who thinks this programme was well balanced must be barking.
It was deliberately presented in an emotional way, and clearly this works on the weaker minds amongst the audience - and the military-haters, of course. Perhaps NIMN should stick to commenting on programmes he may have some insight into - London's Burning, Fireman Sam or the like.
There may be something in some of the allegations made, but having been professionally involved in many similar cases over a number of years, I can say that much of the programme was sensationalised or just wrong. A few examples:
In the case of the girl killed in an RTA - the only evidence that blood on the road was hers appears to have come from an police officer showing the mother the scene - how do we know he was right? Was this subsequently shown at the inquest to be true? It was said that the body was dirty this is quite normal; the body is not cleaned at once so that forensic evidence isn't destroyed. If the family insist on viewing then they are allowed to see it, but will usually be warned first. In any case, this would be a matter for the hospital and the civilian police. Similarly, there was the claim that the mother was told she couldnt have the girl's clothes this often done because they are bloodstained etc., though it could have been more sensitively handled. The point is, nothing was done that was different from the way any civilian death would have been dealt with.
One of the parents said that the Army 'hides behind Crown Immunity', although this hasn't existed for some years, and certainly didn't when his son died; the programme makers didn't challenge or correct this.
There was a claim that it had taken 10 days for a body to be brought back from BFG, and it was made to sound as if this was deliberately done to cause upset. The programme did not explain that the body would first be taken to a local German mortuary, and then be removed to Wegberg where a Home Office pathologist would carry out a post-mortem (this saves the family the grief of a coroner ordering a second pm as they won't accept German pm reports); it also allows a UK death certificate to be issued. After that, the German authorities have to release the body, and arrangements are made to export it. Clearance has to be obtained from the coroner in every district the body will pass through; so if the a/c lands at Heathrow and is being transported in a van to Glasgow, it's a lot of work. Bodies are always transported in sealed coffins, never in body bags - this is a legal requirement. Again it seems the programme makers failed to check the facts.
I remember the case of the boy from Barrow; it was a complete mystery to all, service and civilian. The programme didn't actually accuse the Army of anything, perhaps because there was nothing to accuse it of.
Lt Col Guingard appeared to be a credible witness, until his own situation was revealed. We were not told what qualified him as a specialist accident investigator.
There are certainly cases where the Army could be more open, but in general accidental deaths are dealt with well. This programme showed the tabloid view of a very few cases. They don't seem to have even tried to get the Army view ....
VB while you are quite right on certain aspects of the programme, you yourself pointed out a major fault of the military. As you say correctly "It was said that the ‘body was dirty’ – this is quite normal; the body is not cleaned at once so that forensic evidence isn't destroyed"
Now if this is the case why were weapons cleaned after fatal "accidents", and one of the most disturbing sections of the programme were the families explaining the dismay of coroners at inquests, where personnel had forgotten the events of the deaths of their mates. Like most people I have remembered and forgotten certain things throughout my life, but memorable events and traumatic events do stick, and some vividly, now I find it incredible that the mates of the deceased soldiers developed memory loss, especially at something that must have been very traumatic, especially for those in the same room or very close proximity to the” accident", the explanations as to forgetfulness were quite frankly pathetic, and unfortunately transparent to the families, this itself fuels doubt and distrust towards the military, and the way it conducts itself.
P.S never watched LB, but FS is quite entertaining.
NIMN - Ever been involved in an investigation, due to serious injury or fatality within the workplace?
did you compare "notes" with colleagues to get the story right to sound "consistant"?
No it was not right to say I can't remember what happened, from any witness.
the program was one sided, did we here from any witnesses that were present during the "events"? why not?
In the RTA it stated it was in convoy, was it the last vehicle? If the driver was asleep, was there no ther personel in the vehicle to map read? to help keep the driver stay awake? etc. was there no other witnesses travelling on the M4 at the time.
How many other dangerous professions (of comparable size) have had 2,000 or less deaths of people in employment with them,in the last 12 years, and not that many duty related deaths at that.
Like most people I have remembered and forgotten certain things throughout my life, but memorable events and traumatic events do stick, and some vividly, now I find it incredible that the mates of the deceased soldiers developed memory loss, especially at something that must have been very traumatic,
notinmyname - You've obviously never witnessed anything that has traumatised you so much that, you've become stressed..... and blanked it out!
Quite often when we are in stressful situations (witness a tragic event), our brain prefers to blank things out, it doesn't happen to everybody, but it does happen. It's a safety mechanism, cutting out the 'bad bits' enabling us to deal with everyday life, so we don't go under!
I know this happens because it happened to me..... and I'm a civilian!
It's ok for people to say "Ohhhh they're covering up",... but unless they've actually found themselves in this situation, they need to consider all angles on how the brain copes with stress!
I agree, NIMN, that it may seem odd that weapons were cleaned. However, does every organisation get it right every time. I was on the scene immediately after one accidental shooting, and the scene was completely protected within minutes. I've seen the same done after NDs.
Whilst it's true that traumatic events can be blanked out by the subconscious, it may also simply be that some individuals prefer to say they can't remember rather than risk getting it wrong. I think this would be true of any group, not just the military. It doesn't prove a cover-up.
This programme started out with the premise that the Army always tries to cover up the facts; it failed to prove its case miserably. The military aren't perfect, but they don't deserve this kind of crap.
Ok so mistakes may have happened I.E the cleaning of the weapons. What I do find strange is the statement, "it may also simply be that some individuals prefer to say they can't remember rather than risk getting it wrong. I think this would be true of any group, not just the military", what have they to fear if they get it wrong unless they have something to hide, we all know the way lies work, once one is said you either have to have a remarkable memory or eventually you will snowball it and be found out, unless you have something to hide or have been intimidated into not revealing the truth then there is no reason to withhold evidence.
While you are quite right as to how the brain reacts after traumatic incidents, surly you must admit that it does seem strange that ALL witnesses concerned ALL suffered from the same mental block you refer to.
Yes and yes, but when we did attend the inquest we didnt state after comparing notes and assessing the evidence, I carnt remember, I do understand where your coming from on this but it really isnt a credible argument to their replies. As to the programme being one sided yes you are quite right, and maybe the reason we didnt hear from any of the witnesses present at the incident was pointless because they couldnt offer any light as to what had happened because they couldnt remember.
The safety record of the armed forces was not on trail here, what was on trail was how they dealt with suspicious deaths.
I think it was more a case of "fashonable dislike". It's now fashonable to dislike the MoD, in any form. Oh the boys and girls did a wonderful job in Iraq etc but look at the coverage of the Cyprus Garrison. One hand the jurnos tell you that the Army are the best in the world then they are saying that they are a bunch of pi55 heads on the prowl for a fight or to rape and kill a poor "innocent" holidaymaker/local. I've been there and have mates stationed there at the moment and it's not like that at all. It seems that if there is a slight chance for the press to over react about the MoD/Army then it jumps at the chance.
True there were mistakes made, but look at the Steven Lawrence Inquriey, or the Shipman Case............
They are the "professional" police and they fcuk up so lets give the benifit of the doubt to the sqaddies involed.
A sad set of events.
I completely agree with your viewpoint of how the journos one-minute love you the next hate you.
As to your referral that the girl who was abducted and raped as not being completely "innocent", please divulge otherwise or even disclose it to the relevant authorities as evidence like that may help the 3 convicted of this crime!!!!!, unfortunately this abduction/rape and consequent murder is exactly as you describe, a bunch of pi55 heads on the prowl for a fight or to rape and kill a poor "innocent" holidaymaker/local, and admission of the accused confirms this.
As to how the rozzers make mistakes, yes this again is true, and unlike the military personnel who cocked up certain evidence, or withheld evidence, the police have been brought to task and the officer in charge of the Shipman case had a scathing attack at the recent inquiry, this proves that although yes they make mistakes, they also are brought to task over the mistakes.
VB, I can't give any comment as I only caught the last two minutes of that programme. I would have liked to have seen the lot, even though I know that it would've just wound me up. Lt Col Guingard is an investigator though. He was (maybe still is) employed at TAIT or LAIT as it is now known.
It is, apparantly, common for the UK to believe the worst about 'squaddies'. Look at every case where the Journos print 'ex-soldier kills wife, kids, neighbour, hamster etc...' Each time they imply that the soldier was a trained killer, capable of living rough in your garden, a desperate PTSD nutter - and its you next!. We never see 'Ex Plumber kills wife etc..' - with an implication that he has specialised in using over large tools to wrench and bash nuts, is capable of hiding under sinks whilst simultaneously consuming all of the victims tea and biccies and overcharging before dissappearing mid murder do we!! Often the reality is of course that the Ex Soldier trained killer was a wannabe that ended up a chef and left after a year.
Incidentally, I read in some dubious article that some historians have attributed the general public's dislike of soldiers to the atrocities committed by the New Model Army under Cromwell during the period of Martial Law following ECW. Has anyone else ever heard this or is it just C**P?
The bad behaviour of the New Model Army and the fact that it was used to impose Cromwells view of life on the populace did create a loathing of the soldiery amongst many people.
Other factors were:
We don't need to pay for an Army in the UK cos the Navy will keep the bad chaps out.
The reasonable fear that the King would use the Army against the populace which gave rise to Parliament insisting that it votes a budget for the Army every year (if it were not to vote then the Army would by law have to be disbanded).
The habit' before barracks were built' of billeting troops in private houses. As this was compulsory it did not endear the Army to the man in the street.
The behaviour of troops was not always of the highest standard. Theft, drunkeness and the rogering of every female in sight tended to piss people somewhat.
Having said all of that I think the standing of the Army in the eyes of most people is quite high. It's just the pinko Hampstead dinner party crowd and the Amalgamated Union of Assorted trots, journos and fellow low lifes who like getting the digs in.