BBC claims that Special forces buried evidence of Afghan killings

Sarastro

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
This was the August 2020 news report and the quotes from it below that sent a chill down my back, given some of it happened in 2012 (H16) when we had one of THEM's Bushmaster's in our work shop (i.e. unwittingly or not, we were providing REMF support for such ops)

It wasn't in 2012 or H16. a) I know it wasn't and b) check the investigation in the article which says 2010-2011
 

Poppycock

War Hero
It wasn't in 2012 or H16. a) I know it wasn't and b) check the investigation in the article which says 2010-2011
Maybe I confused the Australian executions of 2012 with earlier British ones

 

Sarastro

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
I find it difficult to believe that the SF would destroy high level int sources needlessly. The work they do is important in friendly forces trying to beat the enemy to the bang and prevent attacks occuring in the first place and/or providing countermeasures for emerging threats. I’m also confident that SF soldiers would be aware of the reason and importance of their role.
To both you and @Cutaway as the ones with relevant experience suggesting this wouldn't happen. You are missing several bits of context.

First, during that period there was deep dissatisfaction among the TFs with the intelligence exploitation part, which was inadequate. This was a period when the UK exploitation capability was being stood up, and not done competently. The TFs, on the other hand, had gotten used to a developed and more aggressive exploitation capability in Iraq provided by the US. They were directed to stop using the US Afghan capability, and to switch to the UK one. They did not like the results. Partly because the capability started poorly (growing pains; general incompetence of Int Corps officers in charge; lack of investment by both Int Corps and Defence), part of it was that it was explicitly less aggressive than the US capability in Iraq which caused all the well known controversies. But the end result was that the TFs simply did not trust that when they arrested someone, they would get J2 from them.

Second, our policy with detention / exploitation was incoherent. There was a well identified cycle of arresting targets, processing them, releasing them, them popping up again quickly as a target. There were a lot of contributing factors to this, some reasonable, some not. Everyone in that field was aware of it, nobody was very happy about it. But fairly obviously, the teams doing compound clearances were justifiably least happy about it, because they were the ones taking all the risk. That attitude was the direct result of a complacent and disinterested military bureaucracy that allowed that cycle to exist and continue, because they were only concerned about box-ticking the process and blind to the effects on the guys on the ground. I encountered the same attitude among a lot of non-SF ground-holding units. Their frustrations were not wrong. They were losing men to feed detainees into a system tied up by bureaucracy and contradictions, so often those detainees were released. Even when J2 was gained, too often it was not visible to the blokes doing the detentions. That is bound to raise the question, in any single man's mind, whether taking a detainee is worth it when they have another option in their hands.

I had a middle row seat for this whole thing, through several different jobs. I think it's more likely than not that it happened. I do know: the investigators (the original team on the ground) were 100% convinced there was a coverup; the subsequent investigators (looking at the material) thought something was very wrong; the chat in the Group tacitly assumed it was true; it was widely believed to be true in the exploitation capabilities at the time, with multiple reports of recurring serial numbers identified by WIS.

There is a third bit of context here, from me personally. I am equally sure that measures were rapidly put in place in the Group to prevent this happening. I have zero faith that the media circus around any further investigation would improve the Group or its capabilities, or even discover the truth. I also know that the insurgency was not operating with its hands tied, and many of those I detained or investigated as detainees were involved in the insurgency, but did not meet the often arbitrary bar for continued detention or prosecution, so were released. Several of those people were involved with or responsible for killings or shadow courts of Afghans (with much more brutal consequences than ours) for which there will be no big public investigation. This is very far from a simple version of "justice" or "right and wrong".

When I was working in exploitation, we very explicitly tried to address a lot of these issues - not coincidentally with the only non-Int Corps (infantry) OC of a facility, also probably the best officer I ever worked for - but even so I could name the BGs, IOs and TLs who would tell you that we didn't do enough. Just the same, how 'good' a ground holding BG, Coy or SF team were often strongly depended on those in charge at that time. Too often failures of leader / officership were given a free pass, those individuals continued on to fail elsewhere, and the standard was lowered for the rest. Even the best leadership teams had limited ability to buck the system when the leadership failures originated from Downing St, Main Building or Andover. Ultimately these situations were failures of leadership: but our method of addressing them instead scapegoats the lowest individuals in the organisation. That isn't either justice, or fixing the real problem.

We are seeing the predictable consequences of a campaign with several different unevenly applied versions of "justice", and a weak and failing officer and political class, translated through a distorting media and political lens. As with other cases before, I don't believe that focusing on this one case is going to improve anything, anywhere. We collectively allowed this situation to happen, and now the only just response is to collectively have to face up to the consequences. If a case or inquiry was possible that indicted all those responsible - soldiers, officers, politicians, MOD, Taliban governors - I'd be for it. I don't see that ever happening in the UK. Like two wrongs, answering one injustice with another is not justice.

If politicians or senior officers don't like this assessment - and certainly it is toxic to a healthy, functioning military or state - they can look to themselves first. That seems to be what they are good at.
 

Cutaway

LE
Kit Reviewer
Maybe I confused the Australian executions of 2012 with earlier British ones

These executions by Aussies, have they been confirmed as gen ?
 

Aquavite

Old-Salt
This was the August 2020 news report and the quotes from it below that sent a chill down my back, given some of it happened in 2012 (H16) when we had one of THEM's Bushmaster's in our work shop (i.e. unwittingly or not, we were providing REMF support for such ops)

Yet another tenuous link from yourself, involving your REMF "career" in history making moments. You're mental.
 

Ritch

LE
Soylent green?.........WHAT?................its all protein! ( Known in the south pacific islands as long pork) ;)

Late edit: Film. "The cook,the thief his wife and her lover" end sequence, one of them is served up whole, on a platter, baked, by the cook. ( and Helen Mirren in the nude, norks well on display)

I think we have found the new Uncle Vanya.
 

Ritch

LE
Unpossible. Uncle vanya had deployed.

Damn, I'm a stinking civvy and I have just come to the conclusion that puts me below Uncle Vanya in the hierarchy.

I'm depressed now.
 

Aquavite

Old-Salt
Damn, I'm a stinking civvy and I have just come to the conclusion that puts me below Uncle Vanya in the hierarchy.

I'm depressed now.
Don't be. Uncle vanya was also an obese, incontinent alcoholic too.
In retrospect, yeah, you're still at the bottom.
 

Ritch

LE
Don't be. Uncle vanya was also an obese, incontinent alcoholic too.
In retrospect, yeah, you're still at the bottom.

You say the sweetest things.
 
Now I'm only a Matelot and a Sundodger, so they don't let us play with guns 'n' things. However, why would somebody throw two perfectly good bullets/rounds (whatever!) at some old bint's house!

Please tell me this is a made up yarn, 'cos I think she might be telling porkies (SWIDT?).

Why are they different colours? I detect a hint of fibbing going on...
 
Its gen,

it will never be proven as verbal orders where given not to take any selfies or make any tiktok videos when doing the deed....
 

MrBane

LE
Moderator
Kit Reviewer
Reviews Editor
Let their side collect them? According to someone I knew, they were good at that.

That was how you could tell the difference between Afghan and foreign insurgents. Afghans locals would be collected by family, those from Pakistan etc would lie there and rot.
 

Proff3RTR

War Hero
To both you and @Cutaway as the ones with relevant experience suggesting this wouldn't happen. You are missing several bits of context.

First, during that period there was deep dissatisfaction among the TFs with the intelligence exploitation part, which was inadequate. This was a period when the UK exploitation capability was being stood up, and not done competently. The TFs, on the other hand, had gotten used to a developed and more aggressive exploitation capability in Iraq provided by the US. They were directed to stop using the US Afghan capability, and to switch to the UK one. They did not like the results. Partly because the capability started poorly (growing pains; general incompetence of Int Corps officers in charge; lack of investment by both Int Corps and Defence), part of it was that it was explicitly less aggressive than the US capability in Iraq which caused all the well known controversies. But the end result was that the TFs simply did not trust that when they arrested someone, they would get J2 from them.

Second, our policy with detention / exploitation was incoherent. There was a well identified cycle of arresting targets, processing them, releasing them, them popping up again quickly as a target. There were a lot of contributing factors to this, some reasonable, some not. Everyone in that field was aware of it, nobody was very happy about it. But fairly obviously, the teams doing compound clearances were justifiably least happy about it, because they were the ones taking all the risk. That attitude was the direct result of a complacent and disinterested military bureaucracy that allowed that cycle to exist and continue, because they were only concerned about box-ticking the process and blind to the effects on the guys on the ground. I encountered the same attitude among a lot of non-SF ground-holding units. Their frustrations were not wrong. They were losing men to feed detainees into a system tied up by bureaucracy and contradictions, so often those detainees were released. Even when J2 was gained, too often it was not visible to the blokes doing the detentions. That is bound to raise the question, in any single man's mind, whether taking a detainee is worth it when they have another option in their hands.

I had a middle row seat for this whole thing, through several different jobs. I think it's more likely than not that it happened. I do know: the investigators (the original team on the ground) were 100% convinced there was a coverup; the subsequent investigators (looking at the material) thought something was very wrong; the chat in the Group tacitly assumed it was true; it was widely believed to be true in the exploitation capabilities at the time, with multiple reports of recurring serial numbers identified by WIS.

There is a third bit of context here, from me personally. I am equally sure that measures were rapidly put in place in the Group to prevent this happening. I have zero faith that the media circus around any further investigation would improve the Group or its capabilities, or even discover the truth. I also know that the insurgency was not operating with its hands tied, and many of those I detained or investigated as detainees were involved in the insurgency, but did not meet the often arbitrary bar for continued detention or prosecution, so were released. Several of those people were involved with or responsible for killings or shadow courts of Afghans (with much more brutal consequences than ours) for which there will be no big public investigation. This is very far from a simple version of "justice" or "right and wrong".

When I was working in exploitation, we very explicitly tried to address a lot of these issues - not coincidentally with the only non-Int Corps (infantry) OC of a facility, also probably the best officer I ever worked for - but even so I could name the BGs, IOs and TLs who would tell you that we didn't do enough. Just the same, how 'good' a ground holding BG, Coy or SF team were often strongly depended on those in charge at that time. Too often failures of leader / officership were given a free pass, those individuals continued on to fail elsewhere, and the standard was lowered for the rest. Even the best leadership teams had limited ability to buck the system when the leadership failures originated from Downing St, Main Building or Andover. Ultimately these situations were failures of leadership: but our method of addressing them instead scapegoats the lowest individuals in the organisation. That isn't either justice, or fixing the real problem.

We are seeing the predictable consequences of a campaign with several different unevenly applied versions of "justice", and a weak and failing officer and political class, translated through a distorting media and political lens. As with other cases before, I don't believe that focusing on this one case is going to improve anything, anywhere. We collectively allowed this situation to happen, and now the only just response is to collectively have to face up to the consequences. If a case or inquiry was possible that indicted all those responsible - soldiers, officers, politicians, MOD, Taliban governors - I'd be for it. I don't see that ever happening in the UK. Like two wrongs, answering one injustice with another is not justice.

If politicians or senior officers don't like this assessment - and certainly it is toxic to a healthy, functioning military or state - they can look to themselves first. That seems to be what they are good at.
Bloody good post, I think in the cold light of dawn this post is pretty accurate to the whole situation. Pretty much sums it up for myself.
 

bombdr2494

Old-Salt
If SF felt the need to take out the trash, then o fully believe it was required and that they keeping our shores secure with their actions. And……it’s the BBC, they need to get their own house in order finding paedophiles right under their noses…..end transmission.
 

bombdr2494

Old-Salt
If SF felt the need to take out the trash, then o fully believe it was required and that they keeping our shores secure with their actions. And……it’s the BBC, they need to get their own house in order finding paedophiles right under their noses…..end transmission.
 
If SF felt the need to take out the trash, then o fully believe it was required and that they keeping our shores secure with their actions. And……it’s the BBC, they need to get their own house in order finding paedophiles right under their noses…..end transmission.
If SF can do it, what's stopping the police in the UK...oh, the law.
 

Cutaway

LE
Kit Reviewer
That was how you could tell the difference between Afghan and foreign insurgents. Afghans locals would be collected by family, those from Pakistan etc would lie there and rot.
Except for the one the Treefrog was sent to get for ID purposes.
 

Poppycock

War Hero
It wasn't in 2012 or H16. a) I know it wasn't and b) check the investigation in the article which says 2010-2011

What do you think Hammond was talking about in Sept 2012 when he said this during a visit to Bastion?
Hammond said:

"tracking people down and removing them from the battlefield"
was not the best way of finding a settlement.

A veiled reference to extra-curricular activities?
 

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