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Wednesday, February 07, 2007 

Sun in doing the right thing shocker?!

I hold my hands up: the Sun's obtaining of a copy of the video of the friendly fire death of Lance Corporal Matty Hull is the scoop of the year so far, and was a rare example of the newspaper proving it can on occasion be a force for good, responsible journalism, as well as being a propaganda vehicle for Mr Murdoch.

The withholding for more than 3 years of the tape, for reasons which are now only too obvious, highlights the contempt in which the American military establishment holds their supposed allies. Two inexperienced pilots, through their own ignorance and likely poor training, attacked UK troops even though they could clearly see the orange panels on the vehicles which identified them as coalition forces. They were also less than helped by the unclear and inaccurate information provided by the US forces on the ground. The tape though also shows the anguish of the two soldiers once they had realised what they had done; it's right that they should be ordered to give evidence at the coroner's inquest into Hull's death, but whether further disciplinary action is required is far less clear cut.

Those who deserve both barrels instead are the higher-ups who decided in the first place that the two pilots were not guilty of misconduct; the Ministry of Defence officials who lied to Hull's family and relatives, telling them that there was no recording of what happened, only recently revealing that there in fact was, and the US military for refusing to allow the tape to be shown to the coroner's court without further negotiations. As so often happens when leaks such as this happen, the video has now been seen across the globe, when instead the tape would have only been played at the inquest; the MoD has succeeded only in demonstrating the way in which it treats soldiers and their families who put their lives on the line for so little in return, while the Pentagon, if any more proof was needed, showed how it thinks only of its own and no one else.

While the Sun deserves the credit for actually obtaining the video, if it hadn't been for the coroner Andrew Walker being both so outspoken and so determined to get to the truth of what happened, the video may never have emerged. The video also raises further questions of just what Blair has got in return for his handing over of foreign policy to Washington. Not only has the war made the world more dangerous, inflamed tensions throughout the wider Middle East and resulted in the deaths of at least one hundred thousand Iraqis, he can't even claim that our soldiers' payment through blood has meant the US military respects our own legal institutions more than it did when the Bush administration so arrogantly rejected the establishment of the International Criminal Court.

Speaking of which, everyone seems to have forgotten the two Iraqi civilians, waving white flags, who were also shot down by the two pilots. Along with the hundreds, if not thousands (or more) killed due to mistakes at best and trigger happiness at worst, there were and will be no inquests into their deaths. That the shells which hit the Scimitars and Spartans were of the 30mm depleted uranium variety which some scientists increasingly fear are responsible for increased cases of birth defects and cancers in Iraq only enhances the blow. Justice for the Iraqis will be a lot longer in coming, even in the case of Matty Hull.

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Is it a co-incidence that the coroner will not be having his contract renewed?


I guess that's the price you pay for doing the right thing and ruffling the Governments feathers. Let that be a warning to any other subversives!

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