US troops and Inquests

#1
From the BBC:

The US will continue to refuse requests for its personnel to appear at inquests into the "friendly fire" deaths of British troops, a report says.

The MoD has sent written guidance to coroners across England and Wales over the holding of military inquests.

According to the Times, its letter says the US "confirms categorically" it will not provide witnesses for inquests.

It comes six days after three British soldiers were killed by US "friendly fire" in southern Afghanistan.

The Times reports that the letter to coroners states: "The US have confirmed categorically that they will not provide witnesses to attend UK inquests.

While coroners may continue to ask for US witnesses to attend... they should be aware that there will in all cases be a refusal."

[align=center]*****[/align]

In March, Oxfordshire assistant deputy coroner Andrew Walker was critical of the failure of the US authorities to co-operate at the inquest of Lance Corporal of Horse Matty Hull.

L/Cpl Hull, 25, died when a US pilot fired on his convoy in Iraq in 2003. No American witnesses gave evidence at the inquest.

The coroner said at the time: "I find the decision of the US authorities not to allow the relevant persons to attend to give evidence, or to themselves provide full transcripts of questions those people were asked during the Friendly Fire Investigation Board, hard to understand."

The Ministry of Defence said the letter to coroners did not mark a change of position.

A spokesman said: "The MoD remains committed to supporting the work of every UK coroner. Indeed the Wiltshire coroner praised the level of support he received from us.

"Both the US and UK work together to investigate the circumstances surrounding friendly fire incidents and their findings are made available to the coroner, as national and operational security and data protection allow.

"The MoD does all that it can to assist the coroner during inquests and liaises with the US government to facilitate requests for information."
So the families of Privates Aaron McClure, Robert Foster and John Thrumble will have to suffer only a partial investigation of their sons' deaths when (finally) the inquests are held.

I understand the concerns of the US about secrecy of equipment and procedures, but their attitude gives untold heart-ache to the families of the men who've been killed. Out of interest, does anyone know what happens in the US when they have blue-on-blue incidents (US against US)? Are there merely internal investigations or public hearings?
 

cpunk

LE
Moderator
#2
I don't blame the US government for their point-blank refusal to send their people to a foreign jurisdiction where there's every chance that they will become political footballs with demands for their arrest/charging etc etc. I would hope our government would have the same balls (though I doubt it).

OTOH, there is no good reason why they shouldn't give evidence in the form of witness statements, gun camera footage and so on - or at least make available the evidence of their own investigations.

I must admit to being in two minds about the whole process of holding formal inquests into operational deaths overseas. It's right that the deaths are investigated and the families informed of the results, but I really doubt there is much value in assigning a formal coroner's verdict.
 
#4
ignoring the rightness/wrongness of an inquest for a moment ... the lack of support from the pentagon just makes the MOD look ineffectual and whipped, the inquest impotent and the forces nothing but targets for trigger happy spams.
One of those times that perception is really important but the MoD and their spin machine (£39m ... a bargain shurely!) cant do jack to prevent a bad taste in the mouth that they are hiding something.
 
#6
cpunk said:
OTOH, there is no good reason why they shouldn't give evidence in the form of witness statements, gun camera footage and so on - or at least make available the evidence of their own investigations.
That is certainly my feeling - to be so unwilling to provide any of the above can only make it appear that there is something to hide.
 
#7
Subpoena the witnesses to attend the Coroner's Court. If they don't attend, find them guilty (in their absence) of Contempt of Court and sentence them to, say, 5 years. Anyone in their CoC who prevents the witnesses attending could also be found guilty of the same offence.

Obviously, they would have to enter UK jurisdiction for them to be arrested, but it would certainly foul any future plans for a holiday in the EU or, indeed, service on US bases in the EU.

Perhaps it's just political posturing, but it may be enough to change some attitudes.

I don't see how the US could reasonably object to someone from the ALS, representing the Coroner's Court, obtaining statements from the witnesses in Theatre.
 
#8
I am curious... if British aircraft killed US servicemen, how would this be handled? Would the same policy be applied in reverse or would we be more helpful?

Personnally I can see why they are hesitant in sending their men abroad for an inquest, but what about teleconferencing?
 
#9
Actually, you can stop blaming the US for this and start blaming those who truly should shoulder the blame. It was the UN/EU, or members of it, that wanted to have jurisdiction over and the ability to charge and punish foreign, (read: US), soldiers for "crimes", (read: carrying out their duty). That kind of stupidity gets, naturally, a reaction in the US and makes them extremely unwilling to throw their men into a potentially awkward situation. Also, it is only the provision of witnesses that the article claims the US are balking at, there is no mention of gun camera footage etc.

Now, let's be quite honest. With gun camera footage, recordings of radio transmissions etc. there is no need whatsoever to have the "guilty" party present at all. What will you achieve other than to try to humiliate him/them and make them feel even more guilty than they already do. What question can be asked that will add anything to the evidence? None... It's a pointless exercise that is fraught with potential danger for the "guilty" party and, to allow it once - even to Great Britain - sets a dangerous precedence because next it will be Iran or North Korea that wants trooper X or Gunner Y and if I was contemplating joining up I wouldn't if I thought my country would throw me to foreign "lions" at the drop of an international court's hat.
 
#10
Bullshit^^^ More septic arrogance. Funny you equate "warcrimes" with "doing your job". Yanks (like everyone else) DO commit crimes. And SHOULD be punished for them.No real point trying to present your nation as "spreading the Rule of Law" when it doesn't apply to you and your own. Typical Septic hypocrisy.
 

oldbaldy

LE
Moderator
#11
This could make it interesting:
AN AMERICAN bomb that killed three soldiers from the Royal Anglian Regiment was dropped from a plane based in Suffolk, it emerged last night.

The three servicemen - including 19-year-old Ipswich soldier Aaron McClure - died last week in Afghanistan when a 500lb bomb was dropped by an F-15 jet.

A spokesman for US Central Command last night confirmed the F-15 was based at the RAF Lakenheath airbase, but he refused to say if the pilots were still flying missions.

There are understood to be about 20 aircraft from the 48th Fighter Wing based at RAF Lakenheath who are currently serving in the region.

An investigation by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the American authorities is currently under way into the “friendly fire” incident, which also killed Privates John Thrumble, 21, from Chelmsford, and Robert Foster, 19, from Harlow. Two other soldiers were also injured.

The soldiers were all serving with 7 Platoon B Company (Suffolk) of 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment.

Tributes have continued to be paid to Pte McClure, whose body is due to be flown home after a military service.
http://www.eadt.co.uk/content/eadt/...gory=news&itemid=IPED28 Aug 2007 22:53:46:717
 
#12
Of course if we had lots of our own aircraft that were capable of supporting our own troops in combat then we wouldn't have to rely on the US would we?

Accidents will happen in war. If you keep on having to call for danger close support from indirect fire or air then sooner or later there will be a mistake. Why are all Brits automatically sure it was a US error? What happens to all the anti-Spam vitriol if it turns out to be a Brit FAC or FOO who made an error?

We, who know something of the nature of warfare, should not join the less experienced media in treating all such incidents as car accidents that could have been prevented and can be reconstructed to some useful end in a coroner's court.

We all know the risks when we join and we all know that an accident can kill us - in training, on ops, on AT. Once you are dead a witch hunt won't help you, will not help your family much and will almost certainly not prevent another accident in the future. Calm investigations that establish what happened without everyone clamming up for fear of crucifixion might just prevent reoccurrences.

I realise that many will disagree with this stance, but if I am killed on ops I will turn in my grave if anyone starts a witch hunt over it.

V-R
 
#13
OK I am an ex-inf soldier and frankly know little of what you say not having either the personal or legal knowledge. But, when was the last time in a multinational theatre of Ops has the RAF, been guilty of blue on blue, none to my recollection, and what was the outcome of that?
 
#14
Flagrant:

You need to change the "violator" part of your nick to something that better suits you... try "idiot" or "retard"... See, just because I live in the USA doesn't mean I'm an American... In fact, I've been here almost 20 years and have not taken citizenship. You need to take your liberal induced "Ameriphobia" and place it firmly up your arse... It's idiots like you who lap up the blithering of the meeja that make Britain a less and less inviting country to want to be a part of.

As to the mindless rant you went on... I don't remember the details of the "International Law" the UN/EU tried to cook up but I clearly remember that it was, to all intents an purposes, aimed clearly at the USA by those that hate them the most. I remember reading about it and immediately realizing what a horrendous idea it was no matter what your nationality because, in short, it was a veiled way of trying to prevent any aggressive action by anyone... and we all know that won't work except with countries that have the decency to abide by said "law".

I, and funnily enough the Americans, have no problem dealing with and punishing their criminals when criminal acts take place and the Americans do it aggressively and regularly. The "law" would have made the boundaries if criminality in war sufficiently hazy to have allowed all kinds of frivolous attempts to charge and convict, (primarily American Servicemen and women), people who were simply doing their job. ie: not committing a crime...

For example... Let's say a chap is firing at you from a doorway. You return fire, round goes through your attacker and kills a small boy on the far side of the room that you couldn't have seen because of the shadows and the fact he was behind your attacker. You get charged with the murder of the boy. How effective a soldier would you be if you always have to wait to make sure that no-one except your target could possibly be hurt?

Von Ryan:

Exactly...

Dutch:

The point was already made that if we were providing the level of close air support to everyone that the US is there would probably be more attributable to the RAF. Close Air Support is inherently dangerous for blue forces because.... it's close... near misses are hits...

Many of you talk like blue on blues are intentional acts committed by individuals who are intent only on the act of killing rather than on the act of winning. They aren't... end of story.
 
#15
Oh yeah, they punish them alright. With strongly worder reprimands. Or pay losses.While most blue on blue are accidents; SOME are incidences of Willful Neglect, Gross Negligence, Insubordination, Failure to follow a direct order, etc. These should be punished, and severely. No harsh words alone or note on your PERS file is enough for killing 4 friendlies. I think you know of whom I speak, here. BTW, I was more pissed about, and referring more to the typical American trait of self-righteous "I don't have to answer to anyone, I'm 'Mayrcan"BS. They pulled the same shit re/ the ICC.
And there is no need to resort to personal attacks. Maybe your judgement has been clouded by living among uneducated hillbillies for 20 yrs.
(and I've travelled extensively through Michigan, grew up a mile from Michigan, so I know of what I speak)
 
#16
Flagrant:

too funny... really... You crack me up... You accuse me of personal attacks when I was only responding to:-

Bullshit^^^ More septic arrogance. Funny you equate "warcrimes" with "doing your job". Yanks (like everyone else) DO commit crimes. And SHOULD be punished for them.No real point trying to present your nation as "spreading the Rule of Law" when it doesn't apply to you and your own. Typical Septic hypocrisy.
At the time you wrote that you believed me to be American. You called me arrogant and a hypocrite. Tell me that was a measured and sensible response to my post with no personal overtones.... Grow up!

grew up a mile from Michigan
Ahhh... It becomes clear... You're a Canadian... Funny, of all the people in the world I am beginning to despise the most for their unfounded hatred of America it's the Canadians. I just spent the weekend in Toronto and I recommend that city to anyone who will listen... with a warning that there are a small number of vehemently irrational haters of America - I suppose I just found another... Shame, I met none in Toronto, (a liberal city in itself)... I had to come here to find one.

Maybe your judgement has been clouded by living among uneducated hillbillies for 20 yrs.
... and you call me arrogant... I'm just rolling in the aisles here.... Stomach hurts so much... You're Canadian and you're calling all Americans "uneducated hillbillies" after your previous little illiterate rant...

America jails, sometimes for life, their servicemen and women who commit crimes in war. They do not jail people who made mistakes especially when those mistakes were compounded by the actions of others. Where applicable, negligence is also punished but it is not pursued in the rabid fashion you advocate because I'm quite sure you would not recommend the same draconian measures against your own countrymen in the same circumstances. Which would make you a hypocrite.

Son, don't let the door hit you in your ArRSe...
 
#17
I have a great idea.Lets stop all US air support of all British forces in both Afghanistan and Iraq.Then we can see how many Britsh soldiers return from operations in a box with the union flag drapped over it. I am sick of ''armchair'' experts sat at home with not a days service at the ''sharp end'',slagging US air crew off.
 
#18
A lot of this has already been done in a 'blue on blue' thread.
http://www.arrse.com/cpgn2/Forums/viewtopic/t=57791.html
Accidents happen.
However I agree that the Spams could be more supportive with general information.

But as I understand it, (if I am wrong [again] I ask to be corrected), there is not even a letter of condolence to the relatives. We are fighting on their side and taking casualties yet a simple 'We regret the death in action of your son', would go a long way.
This way it just comes over as arrogance to a lackey who is expected to be thankful for opportunity to get killed for the American way. I know a lot of Americans aren't like that, but a number are, and their institutions certainly give that impression.
 
#19
dutch_paddy said:
OK I am an ex-inf soldier and frankly know little of what you say not having either the personal or legal knowledge. But, when was the last time in a multinational theatre of Ops has the RAF, been guilty of blue on blue, none to my recollection, and what was the outcome of that?
In my experience it was because the Crabs never hit the right target.
" Right here they come"
Everyone trained binos on the left-hand hill as the right-hand hill suddenly disappeared in a curtain of smoke and explosions.

Then back to the mess to get pissed and congratulations on a job well done. :bow:
 
#20
But as I understand it, (if I am wrong [again] I ask to be corrected), there is not even a letter of condolence to the relatives. We are fighting on their side and taking casualties yet a simple 'We regret the death in action of your son', would go a long way.
This way it just comes over as arrogance to a lackey who is expected to be thankful for opportunity to get killed for the American way. I know a lot of Americans aren't like that, but a number are, and their institutions certainly give that impression.
You're correct of course and if there is no letter of condolence it will _probably_ only be because they don't want to risk the accusation of wrongdoing... Yes, I agree, they should have the b@lls to risk that... But I can attest to the fact that they are damned if they do and they are damned if they don't... It wears one down over time... They are decent, upstanding people for the largest part and the majority feel deeply when a blue on blue is a result of their forces mistake... But the politicians make the rules... :roll: The blind hatred of all things American is unfounded...

Late Quote:

Everyone trained binos on the left-hand hill as the right-hand hill suddenly disappeared in a curtain of smoke and explosions.
LOL... My _lowest ever_ jump was from about 400'... Because the crabs messed up and dropped us on the high point of the DZ because they miscalculated the wind... W@nkers...

PS: Wewere crabs when they dropped us off target... :roll:
 

Similar threads

New Posts

Latest Threads