Sniper to sue MOD for endangering him and his family.

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Abdiel, Aug 1, 2010.

Welcome to the Army Rumour Service, ARRSE

The UK's largest and busiest UNofficial military website.

The heart of the site is the forum area, including:

  1. An Army sniper is suing the Ministry of Defence over a "catastrophic error" which put him and his family in danger of being kidnapped by al-Qaeda.
    Police feared the soldier and his family could face retaliatory attacks by British-based Islamists after it was disclosed to the media that he had shot dead several Taliban gunmen at a range of 1.5 miles during during a tour in Helmand.

    The soldier and his family were forced to leave the country amid fears that he was a possible target of a kidnap plot.

    Sniper sues Army over error which put him in danger of being kidnapped by al-Qaeda - Telegraph

    The Dangers of the media surface again.
  2. Gremlin

    Gremlin LE Good Egg (charities)

    Looks like there should be some editing done on one of the threads on ARRSE then!
  3. Too late now........
  4. The problem is the Army media blokes act in a contradictory way to what the intelligence blokes tell you, I was asked three times to give interviews with local and national news papers, but refused twice, the other time I was forced into it by an officer but I refused when it came down to giving the interview with the media lady. Not that there's anything remarkable about me I was just spammed to do it.

    The Army likes to put responsibility on the individual sometimes unfairly regardless of experience, if you're a sprog who's made a mistake on JPA, tough shit, bad admin. Signed for a bit of kit you didn't recieve, again tough shit, bad admin.

    Talk to the press and reveal something you shouldn't, again it's your fault, you've had the int briefing, regardless of whether or not you wanted to give the interview in the first place and you where forced into it by someone of a much higher rank.

    Maybe this will make those who push people into stuff like this think twice in future.
  5. Gremlin

    Gremlin LE Good Egg (charities)

    If that's true, then MOG need to have a bloody good rethink about their modus operandi!
  6. Seems a ridiculous overreaction by this individual and his advisers, given that hundreds of Herrick/Telic returnees and their families have been routinely named and displayed by the media? Dozens more have even helpfully written books about the accomplishments of themselves and other named individuals in their units.
  7. It was badly worded, I meant unit PR rather than media ops, I'm sure they're more on the ball.
  8. I don't think he has overreacted at all, he would be a high value target, you could say the same for VC winners but snipers have always been especially despised by the enemy. There was no need for him to be in the news, and the story would have been seen as slightly distasteful to the general population anyway, so it's not like it was good PR anyway.

    Also it's not his overreaction, it's Police intelligence that seems to have lead to him having to pull his kid out of school and leave the country.
  9. Sarastro

    Sarastro LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

    This is possibly the first 'X sues Y for compensation' story I've ever agreed with.

    As Mark1234 points out, this is a known personal security problem between what the counter-intelligence advice tells soldiers (good), and what Media Ops want them to do (bad). These stories genuinely put people at risk and cause much expense and problems for both the MOD and the soldiers / family involved. Media Ops do get advice from security / counter-intelligence, but generally seem to ignore it - generally the in-theatre MOG are somewhat better (though still seem to place a good story well above OPSEC), but the MOD Media Ops unit are terrible. There is also a general pressure within MOD to get soldiers' faces on the TV to maintain public support, particularly out in theatre, which inevitably runs contrary to keeping those individuals - and sometimes general operational information - safe.

    The stupid thing is that it is relatively easy to not expose soldiers while writing the story - simply don't include name, address, picture or anything specifically identifiable about them, and instead go for the tabloid type Soldier X with a generic non-facial picture of someone doing that role, ie a sniper aiming away from the camera. To what Mark said about officers strongarming soldiers to do it - they are fundamentally not allowed to do that. If you don't want to do it, refuse and take it to whatever line of the CoC you have to until you are heard. The other, more diplomatic, way to avoid it which is usually accepted without question is to say you want to do sneaky beaky things at some point in the future.

    Considering some of the measures that have been taken for some of the worst affected, this really isn't an over-reaction on the suing soldier's part - if you had to uproot your entire life because some MOD civil servant wanted to get an easy story out of you, would you be happy? If, as per usual for public bodies, this is what it takes to get MOD Media Ops to start listening to the advice, then so be it.
  10. Your post reminds me of the ordeal that the MoD (apparently) put Mike Coburn through when he was trying to get Soldier Five published. Have they learned anything from that?
  11. I (we?) thought that this tom would be getting some grief when the story broke. It is reprehensible the way his details were portrayed/splashed across the redtops.

    Would a soldier in SFSG have been treated the same way? I think not.
  12. im from the provence! without my knowledge i was named in a public inquest. my name was plastered all over the papers and internet. The first thing i knew was when my mates widow told me. this included my name, rank and it made avoiding the press in the future totally impossible
  13. Not at all. The article gave his full name, the names of his wife and child, and a specific location where they live.

    The guy was plastered across the front page of the newspaper, with a story about killing Taliban fighters. Details of his family and his address were as good as published along with it.

    He was made into a high profile target that was accessible to any wannabe jihadi who fancied making a hero of himself.
  14. Well, in my opinion, if they can give the murderers of the Bulger kid new identities, they can give them to the sniper and to his family.
    Rotten drills of course in spattering his name and details all over the press as well.


  15. If I were this bloke I'd be having a stern word in MOD's ear and demanding a transfer and relocation to one of our overseas friends armed forces and a new ID to go with it.