Troops Charged Over Iraq War Cameraman Death

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by frigate23, May 21, 2009.

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  1. Spain is to prosecute three American soldiers for the killing of a Spanish TV cameraman during the Iraq War.

    The soldiers are being held responsible for the death of Jose Couso after a tank fired on a hotel as American forces seized Baghdad in the 2003 conflict.
    Judge Santiago Pedraz had originally thrown out the charges last year.

    He said at the time there was "insufficient evidence" of deliberate intent on the part of the three to target civilians inside the hotel where journalists were known to be staying.

    But Judge Pedraz has now said there is new evidence, including reports by experts and from a former US soldier, for the charges to be applied.

    Full story

    Not taking any sides here at all, but how have the Spanish managed to get hold of the US Soldiers in order to prosecute them?

    And surely the cameraman deliberately endangered himself when he chose to go to Iraq in the first place? He knew what he was risking, no need for him to be there.
  2. They almost certainly haven't got hold of them - the Spanish have a system which allows them to charge people in absentia.

    If the three soldiers set foot in an EU nation, or any country with an extradition treaty, the Spanish will try to get them extradited. At that point, the nation in which the three chaps happen to be will be told that they'd better not think of allowing an extradition to occur, while the Spanish ambassador will be invited to the State Department and asked to inform his government that they can foxtrot oscar... The US will probably bandy around some threats to impose massive tariffs on European goods, there'll be much pressure applied to Madrid by other EU governments, etc, etc, etc.

    The soldiers involved will almost certainly never face trial; if they do end up in Spain, the publicity means that the trial wouldn't be a fair one.

    I assume that this is the instance of where the cameraman popped up on the hotel balcony with his camera on his shoulder and was assumed (by people already taking fire) to be aiming an anti-tank weapon. So they engaged him and he died.
  3. I am sure you are right, except for the last paragraph. The "mistaken for a shoulder-launched weapon" explanation is an obvious one but I am not sure that it really applies in this case.

    According to Reuters, the explanation given by a US officer at the time was that someone had been seen using binoculars from the hotel and had been wrongly thought to have been spotting for hostile fire. Without prejudging the issue, I understand that one civilian investigation concluded that the attack was avoidable but not a deliberate attack on journalists. That seems to me an important point, in everyone's interests.

    As to "the journalists should not have been there in a war zone", they obviously did know what they were potentially getting themselves into but they were already there in the Palestine Hotel when coalition forces invaded Iraq.
  4. Ord_Sgt

    Ord_Sgt RIP

    The incident in question was described in some detail in a book I read - I forget which one. It was a clear case of confusion - if thats not an oxymoron. There was no intention to target a journalist, it was responding to enemy fire, although they got the location wrong. Nothing sinister, just human beings making a mistake while under a bit of stress.

    If you don't want to get killed in a war, don't go to a war zone.
  5. I have just read "The Circuit" by Bob Sheperd who was hired to look into the death of Terry LLoyd. he also thinks that Lloyd was killed by the Septics while cought in the line of fire
  6. Bouillabaisse

    Bouillabaisse LE Book Reviewer

    The Spanish judiciary is political and this is a political statement likely to endear this judge to left wing voters. He knows it isn't going anywhere but it makes him famous for 5 minutes and the locals will vote for him. Wonder if he's standing on June 4th?
  7. The book is Thunder Run, basically the tanks on the western side of the river knew absolutely **** all about the eastern side because it was not there area of operation (it was Marines AOO) which is where the Palestine Hotel was located. They where taking indirect fire and mulled over the guy for about 10-15 minutes if i remember correctly, they identified him as using a Laser range finder (camera on tripod). Thank **** **** a commander realised after the hit on the building because at the time they tried tasking a Jdam on to the building.
  8. Given the environment at the time, personally surprised that there were not more incidents of that type.
  9. That will be the same Bob Shepherd ex 2 sqn raf regiment ROCKAPE
  10. If that is confirmed, it makes sense to me. Classic cross-boundary engagement.
  11. Yer but he spent more time in the green than he did in the Rusian cossack WW1 surplus blue
  12. You sure about that?
    The Spanish judiciary in things like this tends to operate independently and this has been hanging around for some time now. I wouldn't agree that it is politically inspired right now, especially as Pres. Zapatero wants to get along with Obama. With Bush he couldn't have given a damn, but this one is one he doesn't want to prejudice even if he is having difficulties.

    The way I read it is that there are elements in Spain who love conspiracy theories and refuse to believe a truth even when hit over the head by it. When the reporter was killed a section of the press refused to believe that it wasn't deliberate. They say that the septics knew precisely where the journos were and that the tank paused, received orders to fire from above and blew away their target. The pressure is coming from certain elements of the Press who insist that their man was murdered deliberately.

    You, I, and the dog know that it was far more likely a case of battlefield confusion, (and septics not knowing what was going on) than deliberate.
    However this one has to run, most courts would throw it out like it was originally done but as they say 'Spain is different'.

    Mind if you are peed off with a journo there is no better antidote than a septic tank. :twisted:
  13. the Rusian cossack WW1 surplus blue never stopped you reading his book.

    BTW he still shows up at rockapes reunions will tell him he had quite a few pongo fans
  14. Bob's background has been well thrashed in another forum. It's worth pointing out Tropper as I consider your summary of what Bob suggests in his tome lacks some extra but relevant detail.

    Lloyd's vehicle was sandwiched between an 'attacking' 4x4 onto an American armoured vehicle. The 4x4 opened up on the Americans who returned fire onto both vehicles believing both to be part of the assault.
  15. Actually, there were two others,from your unit, who did selection 6 years before Bob, if you are looking to drag this thread into another pissing competition.