Political influence in military prosecutions

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Trackpen, Nov 17, 2005.

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  1. Can't provide a link because I heard this on Radio 4 news at about 1800. CGS has strongly condemned any accusations of political influence in military prosecutions. The subject was apparently raised at a Defence Correspondents' Association lunch at the Cavalry & Guards Club, to which CGS had been invited as the principal guest, in advance of presentation of the Armed Forces Bill in a couple of weeks time.
    The BBC's defence correspondent reported that, though General Sir Mike would not discuss specifics of individual cases, he apparently became very angry at suggestions there had been any political influence and it was a slander and calumny against the APA to suggest this was the case. [Quote marks not included as I am going from memory of what was said by the corr. in question.]
    The Defence Correspondents' Association was formed when Malcolm Rifkind was Minister for Defence, against the best efforts of the civvy MoD minders, in an attempt to have some sort of similar access to the MoD that the Parliamentary Lobby Correspondents have and that US defense correspondents have at the Pentagon. Membership was strictly limited and members, then, had their own passes to MoD Main Building, which were held at the front desk.
  2. Heard the same thing but cannot find any reference (and therefore link) to it on BBC news website, MOD website or Ceefax etc. Although HRH Prince Charles giving up polo is newsworthy apparently. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
  3. Did he say anything about unwarranted military influence in military prosecutions?
  4. From today's Telegraph (on-line):
    "Gen Jackson attacked critics of the decision to prosecute Col Mendonca, calling it a "calumny" to suggest military prosecutors were politically influenced. He said "opinions seems to be aligned with fact" after claims that the case against Col Mendonca, 42, was motivated by politics.

    "Gen Jackson said that it was "a calumny to imply that honest, decent people doing their best are dancing to some political tune".

    "If there are some who seem to believe that no officers or men should be prosecuted because they were doing their duty I cannot agree," said Gen Jackson.

    Link to full piece here:
    Wait for Iraq trials too long, says Army chief

    No he didn't - not from what I heard anyway. As ever, it's always best to listen to what is not being said.
    DCA lunches were (are?) supposed to be non-attributable, a la Lobby. It looks as if either the corrs could not resist such a juicy quote (unlikely since the press office could then withdraw passes and bar transgressors from MoD press conferences, access to senior figures, etc), or, more likely, this was passed as fit for public consumption by the minders.
    Either way, pretty strongly worded by the CGS (slander, calumny), probably aimed at putting an end to any further comments along these lines.
    Wouldn't be surprised to find m'learned friends sharpening their pencils!

    "If there are some who seem to believe that no officers or men should be prosecuted because they were doing their duty I cannot agree," said Gen Jackson." (my emphasis) This is an interesting point: Is the General being quoted as saying he disagrees with the idea that officers or men should not be prosecuted for doing their duty?
    The statement is a touch convoluted, so I may have misread it - or it's a typo!

    Edited to add: The more I read the above statement (if it is accurately reported), and cancelling out the negatives, giving 'I agree with the idea that officers or men should be prosecuted for doing their duty', the more it seems the good General is trying to apply the Nuremberg principle. Might he have slipped in a crafty one to indicate his views on the legality of the war in Iraq - or am I reading too much into this?
  5. The Times chap was also at lunch yesterday:

    Officers will lose historic power to charge their men

    So, the new Armed Forces' Bill (prop. the Government) abolishes the right of CoC to be involved in prosecutions: Is this not political influence?

    Edited to add:
    CGS also came up with this gem, reported in BBC on-line news Army boss defends soldier trials .
    "He accused the media of peddling ill-informed opinion which suggested morale was low because of prosecutions. "I've no sense soldiers think the whole thing is a busted flush," he said.

    Is he right?