Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by BFBS, Nov 7, 2007.
The heart of the site is the forum area, including:
Fusilier Gentle unlawfully killed
Can someone who understands the law tell us what this actually means "a logistic failing led to the unlawful killing of ..."
Does the Coroner mean the MoD were "responsible for" or just that failing "contributed to" the unlawful killing. Or neither of above?
Could mean any number of things. Essentially a 'logistical failure' led to this soldiers death.
Someone somewhere had the authority/decision making power to have this kit fitted.
I suspect there will now be an investigation and if it is found there was negligence involved ie someone sitting on the stores instead of issuing them then potentially manslaughter charges could follow.
That said anyone using this forum who has detailed knowledge of this failing should nor disclose that knowledge into the public domain until such time as 'the due process' has been completed.
I suspect the media will latch onto this and use it as a stick to beat the MOD. When the MOD may not be at fault.
If one or more individuals have been criminally negligent then they should face the full force of the law...........
The Inquest follows a Board of Inquiry , an SIB investigation and an Administrative Action investigation. There will be no further actions on this incident, nor did the Inquest appear to discover anything new. In fact, it is difficult to see what benefit has been derived - other than dragging the whole thing out for another 2 years and giving a civilian Coroner the opportunity to grand stand on detailed military matters of which she clearly understands little.
This is another example of why military inquests need military input.
Ms Lynch also branded the Ministry of Defence's policies for disclosure of evidence to her inquest "illogical and based on errors of law".
This is a real problem. MoD sit on classified documents for weeks and months, classifying, redacting. Everything is loaded in their favour. Everything has been seen by them before the Inquest.
There must be a better way, a more independent way of doing things.
I can understand that the killing was 'unlawful' as the insurgents were acting outside the law. But to say that there was any 'negligence' on the part of the 'logistics chain being chaotic' would find it difficult to prove any individual guilty.... I mean, in what the press call so often 'a war zone', it's not just the logistics chain that is chaotic.
You could have had the best kit available fitted to the vehicles involved and 100m down the road the same individual could have been killed by RPG attack, sniper fire or an Road Traffic Incident. Who knows.
Losing troops is bad and a hit for moral, but so is hunting for scape goats who are probably doing the best they can in equally difficult circumstances. Unless you can find a written order preventing the kit from being issued for a particularly bone reason, we are just taking the spotlight away from the real reason kit doesn't get issued quick enough.... the government's tight grip on budgets. And I know they aren't going to end up in the dock over it.
The blame for Fusilier Gentle's death, despite his mother's contentions, despite the BBC report and despite apparent failures in the logistic system lies with the person(s) who set the IED. In the rush to blame the army for the logistics failure (and Mrs Gentle's observations that TCB was to blame) the fact remains that those who laid the device are those responsible for the death.
It may well be that negligence of some sort (or equally some other factor) contributed to the death in that the IED wouldn't have killed Fusilier Gentle had the kit been in use - but had someone not placed the IED, then the presence or otherwise of the kit wouldn't have mattered. However, it would appear that the dear old Beeb have interpreted the verdict as meaning that the army was responsible for the death rather than the insurgents...
I rather doubt that Ms Lynch has a scooby why matters relating to ECM or other operationally sensitive matters need to be secret.
There is, undoubtedly, a better way of doing things - and it doesn't involve a purely civilian coroner to my mind.
In this instance, money was not an issue. ECM was being rushed into theatre as fast as it could be produced - and it was being produced as fast as it could be designed, and it was being desgined as fast as threats were being identified.
Fusilier Gentle was killed by an insurgent IED. There were undoubted administrative failings that led to a short delay in kit availability, but these were hardly monstrous (or negligent) and would not have been noticed had this tragic incident not occurred. Moreover, the failings were quickly corrected.
But that doesn't make a good headline.
As discussed on another thread, the very independence you are asking for is likely to mean a lack of understanding of the situation. Without a grounding and awareness of military structures and methods of operating, the civilian barristers and indeed the coroners will not be fully aware of the nuances of situations.
Also, some will always see the fact that there is evidence/information that the MOD doesn't want released into the public domain as indicative of a cover up or delay. The truth is that there are some things best kept out of open source material. Unfortunately this will lead to conspiracy theories or suggestions of incompetence. As more publicity is generated so peoples misconceptions are reinforced. I would suggest that this has certainly been the case in this situation.
I have only read the reporting on the inquests verdict, and havent seen the full document (link anyone?). From what I have seen though, it appears that the verdict is one of unlawful killing based on the unlawful act of setting the IED. The BBC focuses (as does the apparent family comments) on the allegations regarding the supply of the equipment. As previously mentioned on this thread, there has already been much investigation and review of this death and even with the SIB investigating officers (which it does with great zeal) there have been no military charges or action that I am aware of.
Stand by for the next stage of this process, the individuals named in the coroners report being taken to court for damages by the family.
BBC getting totally the wrong end of the stick. As has already been posted Fus Gentle was unlawfully killed by Shia Insurgents in Basra. I imagine they are still roaming the streets of Basra free as a bird, although I do hope they have been on the receiving end of a JDAM.
Fus Gentle was killed by an IED.
ECM may have prevented the attack. Who is a fault in the chain from reaction to threat to the kit arriving at the unit?
A member of his patrol could have seen the IED. Is he at fault?
Where was Fus Gentle in the vehicle? Was it the fault of his Commander for telling him to sit in that chair?
Where was Fus Gentle in the convoy? Was it the fault of the convoy commander for placing his vehicle in the OOM?
The insurgents could have decided to plant any number of different types of IED. But they didn't. Is that the fault of the J2 community for not knowing what type of IED would be placed where and when? An impossible task.
Too many imponderables, but one thing remains constant; those that planted the IED. Could the BBC please focus upon them and give them the bad press they deserve?
Herc Inquest is not expected to happen until next year, over 3 years after XV179 was shot down. The process of classification and redaction slows everything down and is opaque. When the MoD even object to the words "special forces" what hope is there for a transparent, efficient and timely outcome?
3 years and no closure. This is a desperate situation for those left behind.
The answer might well be a single coroner's court fully funded and staffed with experts at dealing with the tortuous, beaurocratic MoD.
I appreciate that Mrs Gentle is a mother who loves her son dearly, but unfortunately this situation has not done her any credit.
Her initial stand point was that her son was not trained for war (as an Infantry man!!) She then clung to the Kit and equipment argument when publicity and media coverage, gave her another stand point. Unfortunately every one involved in the Fus Gentle Furore have forgotten that Fus Gentle was a volunteer, who served with pride in his local regiment, and died doing something he loved and should be honoured as such.
I Fear for Mrs Gentle, as all her grief has been channelled into this fruitless and pointless blame campaign. Now that she has her blame on paper where does she go from here? Will the trauma of losing her son, which she has suppressed in a bid to catch the bad man in the army who sent her wee boy to war, finally catch up with her?
Its a shame because the reputation of a fallen comrade is intact, but his name has become synonymous with this witch hunt.
Bang on the nail, TFR.
Lots of money and time have been spent looking into the death of Fus Gentle, and none of the participants have benefitted.
Any parent here can understand her grief. What I don't think that she, and her supporters, realised was the emotional impact on Fus Gentle's fellow soldiers - his death was bad enough but the strain on the CoC ( especially within the company ) resulting from her "search for justice" was intense.
Anyone who's unit has suffered a death on Ops suffers from fears that it might have been avoidable "if only...."
To return to prolonged and unjustified claims that he was inadequately trained, poorly prepared and badly equipped, and that as a result responsibility for his death lies with incompetence / inefficiency / lack of care of his commanders was awful for the company and the regiment. Nearly all of of the claims were simply untrue - the accusations about minimal ammunition, blood stained dog tags etc. The remainder, with some truth, were systematically twisted by those with something to gain.
Not Mrs Gentle - she has gained no comfort from the process. Her cause was exploited by campaigning politicians such as Tommy Sheridan et al for their own ends.
Despite the findings of report the responsibility for his death lies immediately with the insurgents who set the IED. The wider responsibility lies with Blair and his government - I write that with no political implication intended.
I know that many of those called to the inquiry have experienced heart-ache as a result. They will be able to move on with time, but I doubt that Mrs Gentle will. Perhaps she would have been able to do so had a crowd of manipulators not mobbed her with crocodile tears and a keen eye for political point scoring.
For all the factors involved the broad conclusion is relatively simple. Fus Gentle chose to become a soldier, was proud to be a member of the RHF and was very sadly killed on our behalf.
I doubt that he would want to be remembered as a victim.
I think some of you are being a bit unfair on Mrs Gentle. The investigations and enquiries which took place, including the inquest, would have taken place whatever her viewpoint was.
Separate names with a comma.