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Old 10th Jan 2017, 23:59   #1 (permalink)
Nemo Me Impune Lacessit
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Sgt Blackman RM- There is hope

Senior military judge mishandled trial of jailed marine Alexander Blackman, official report finds

(Despite long search could not find an existing thread).
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Old 11th Jan 2017, 00:15   #2 (permalink)
 
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How he was not released on bail before Xmas is simply beyond me, his new legal team have very compelling evidence with regards to his mental well being at the time of this incident and quite how he was not treated with more compassion than was shown is disgraceful.

It would be nice to think all those involved in serving him so poorly during his time of real need would get their just dues but knowing the military I suspect that will not be the case.
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Old 11th Jan 2017, 15:16   #3 (permalink)
 
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Quite simply he and others did some very stupid things. Not least of all filming this. Once that footage is in the public domain it makes it very difficult for the authorities to show leniency without the inevitable cry of a cover up. He should have checked that all cameras were off before he did what he did.
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Old 11th Jan 2017, 15:18   #4 (permalink)
 
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Quite simply he and others did some very stupid things. Not least of all filming this. Once that footage is in the public domain it makes it very difficult for the authorities to show leniency without the inevitable cry of a cover up. He should have checked that all cameras were off before he did what he did.
Or just not murder a hors de combat insurgent...
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Old 11th Jan 2017, 15:27   #5 (permalink)
 
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Lesson One: Don't get caught!

Everyone is aware that some very bad things happen in warfare, but to allow such things to be filmed is crass stupidity. If this had happened in a civilian setting, the sentence would probably be life imprisonment with no parole. So a degree of leniency has been exercised.
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Old 11th Jan 2017, 17:16   #6 (permalink)
 
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Lesson One: Don't get caught!

Everyone is aware that some very bad things happen in warfare, but to allow such things to be filmed is crass stupidity. If this had happened in a civilian setting, the sentence would probably be life imprisonment with no parole. So a degree of leniency has been exercised.
This is the thing that amazed me. He's clearly a fairly intelligent individual, and he must have known full well that body cams (and unofficial personal video recording) was a fact of life - pretty much everything seems to be recorded one way or another.

What he did was, in my view, reasonable in the circumstances, based on my assumption that the insurgent was going to die anyway (which could be flawed - I'm not in possession of the facts regarding the extent of the insurgent's injuries from the Apache attack).

A former colleague did much the same to one of his mates over 30 years ago, simply because where they were, and the state of his mates injuries, meant that if he didn't get a bullet to the head he was going to bleed out, in great pain, for his last few minutes on earth, with no hope at all of getting adequate medical treatment. He had already given him as much morphine as they had, so his hope was that the coup de gr‚ce was as humane a thing possible, in the circumstances.

The courts have, I believe, seen the video that was on the laptop, and which led to the charge. One assumes they made a judgement based on better evidence than any of us have, having been able to make an assessment of the injuries the insurgent had received during the Apache attack. Somehow I doubt they were minor.

The question then was whether this was an "act of mercy", with the prime intention of killing someone quickly who was going to otherwise die slowly, or whether it was an act of murder. Unfortunately, Sgt Blackman's own words rather showed that the latter was the case, even though, I suspect, he did the insurgent a favour by granting him a quick death, rather than a slow one, it was the spirit in which he did the act, openly admitting that he was breaking the Geneva Convention, that signed his own murder confession.
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Old 11th Jan 2017, 17:26   #7 (permalink)
 
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Reported here.
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Old 11th Jan 2017, 18:17   #8 (permalink)
 
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Reported here.
Given that the reporting from that link seems to suggest that the insurgent was either "gravely", or "mortally" injured, then I think that Sgt Blackman and his colleagues could have legitimately claimed it was a "mercy killing" but for the helmet cam recording and his, no doubt heartfelt, but extremely bloody stupid, comments when he did the act.

I've no doubt that, without the video evidence, and if his colleagues had stayed quiet about it after the event, this probably wouldn't even have been investigated, let alone get to court martial.

In the circumstances, if, at re-trial, Sgt Blackman is found guilty of manslaughter (as I think he most probably should) then that would seem to be the best outcome.

I'm a bit amazed that manslaughter wasn't allowed as a verdict in the original trial. If the insurgent was already dying, and all Sgt Blackman did was hasten his end by a few minutes, perhaps an hour or two at most, then it seems unreasonable for him to have been found guilty of murder, to me.
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Old 11th Jan 2017, 18:41   #9 (permalink)
 
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Given that the reporting from that link seems to suggest that the insurgent was either "gravely", or "mortally" injured, then I think that Sgt Blackman and his colleagues could have legitimately claimed it was a "mercy killing" but for the helmet cam recording and his, no doubt heartfelt, but extremely bloody stupid, comments when he did the act.

I've no doubt that, without the video evidence, and if his colleagues had stayed quiet about it after the event, this probably wouldn't even have been investigated, let alone get to court martial.

In the circumstances, if, at re-trial, Sgt Blackman is found guilty of manslaughter (as I think he most probably should) then that would seem to be the best outcome.

I'm a bit amazed that manslaughter wasn't allowed as a verdict in the original trial. If the insurgent was already dying, and all Sgt Blackman did was hasten his end by a few minutes, perhaps an hour or two at most, then it seems unreasonable for him to have been found guilty of murder, to me.
How many British troops were shot by their own as they lay there dying in Afghanistan?

Or did we smash as many tourniquets as would fit on the stump(s) and stuff as much Celox inside them as we could fit?

All that time they spent dragging the victim into cover and stood over him talking about whether they should bother applying first aid or not could have been spent trying to save life.
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Old 11th Jan 2017, 19:14   #10 (permalink)
 
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How many British troops were shot by their own as they lay there dying in Afghanistan?

Or did we smash as many tourniquets as would fit on the stump(s) and stuff as much Celox inside them as we could fit?

All that time they spent dragging the victim into cover and stood over him talking about whether they should bother applying first aid or not could have been spent trying to save life.
I've no idea, but it wouldn't surprise me if some had. War is nasty, very nasty, and yes, we have more advanced ways of limiting blood loss and filling up big holes in the body, but there are still a large number who suffer mortal wounds and don't have a hope in hell of surviving, no matter what - it's just a matter of how quickly and painfully they die.

I agree that they should have attempted first aid, they behaved deplorably, but they had, as already discussed, been in an environment for a fair time where their opponents were ignoring all the "conventions of warfare" and were doing things like taunting these guys by hanging the body parts of their colleagues from trees.

No, that doesn't in any way justify what Sgt Blackman and his colleagues did, but it does mitigate the circumstances and give us a small insight as to how the things they were experiencing there may have both affected their mental health and their judgement.
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Old 11th Jan 2017, 19:22   #11 (permalink)
 
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then I think that Sgt Blackman and his colleagues could have legitimately claimed it was a "mercy killing"
Not an excuse for killing in the United Kingdom, old chap...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder...sisted_suicide
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Old 11th Jan 2017, 19:33   #12 (permalink)
 
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Rather as has been mentioned previously I think that it was effectively a mercy killing but the stupid comments put a totally different perspective on it. Had he said something along the lines of "Poor chap is in agony, it's better that I shoot him" then I think we would not even be discussing this.
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Old 11th Jan 2017, 19:54   #13 (permalink)
 
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Thankfully others with more of an insight to the mental state of Blackman after multiple combat tours in that part of the world will be acting for him.

Last edited by Seldomfitforpurpose; 11th Jan 2017 at 20:09.
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Old 11th Jan 2017, 20:12   #14 (permalink)
 
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There appears to be areas of misunderstanding on this. If I was asked whether I would condone his actions I might stop just short of that position. If I asked whether I understood what he did however I would answer unhesitatingly in the affirmative. Maybe I would go further than that and say that I might well behave in a similar manner if put in his position.

I wouldn't pretend however that it made it morally correct to execute him. I do know that I would have asked anyone with camera footage to destroy it and I certainly would not have made myself a hostage to fortune by keeping it on a laptop.

Perhaps he perceived a time forty years hence when he might proudly show it to his grandchildren. A now deceased friend of mine once told me with evident approval how a platoon of Canucks slit the throats of Hitler Youth fighters taken prisoner outside Caen in July 1944. He said that,while he felt a bit sorry for them, but they had it coming.

War as has been pointed out is a dirty business. As has also been end pointed out it's a cardinal sin to get caught and extremely stupid to provide evidence against yourself.
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Old 11th Jan 2017, 20:14   #15 (permalink)
 
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Originally Posted by Checkboard View Post
Not an excuse for killing in the United Kingdom, old chap...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder...sisted_suicide
Not for anyone deemed to be in a sound state of mind at the time of the killing, no, but can we truthfully claim that Sgt Blackman and his colleagues were in, what we here in "safe" old England would refer to as a "sound state of mind"?

I would argue that they were not, and that when in an environment like that their judgement and state of mind would be very significantly altered from what we, here at home, would consider "normal".
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Old 11th Jan 2017, 20:22   #16 (permalink)
 
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Perhaps he perceived a time forty years hence when he might proudly show it to his grandchildren. A now deceased friend of mine once told me with evident approval how a platoon of Canucks slit the throats of Hitler Youth fighters taken prisoner outside Caen in July 1944. He said that,while he felt a bit sorry for them, but they had it coming.

War as has been pointed out is a dirty business. As has also been end pointed out it's a cardinal sin to get caught and extremely stupid to provide evidence against yourself.
I have a video here, converted from 8mm cine film, shot unofficially with a home cine camera, that I inherited from a relative. It was shot from the cockpit of a Harvard, and shows half a dozen Harvards carrying out a rocket attack on mud and straw huts, with no ground combatants in sight, just unarmed people fleeing the scene.

The pilot that shot the video was proud of it at the time, it was a memento of his "small war in Kenya". In later life he asked me to destroy it, along with all the memorabilia he had of that time. I didn't, and I still have it all, but even now I cannot reconcile the smiling faces of those pilots in the video with what we now know to be atrocities against civilians, carried out during the Mau Mau uprising.
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Old 11th Jan 2017, 20:53   #17 (permalink)
 
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we now know to be atrocities against civilians, carried out during the Mau Mau uprising.
Mostly by the Mau Mau.
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Old 11th Jan 2017, 21:41   #18 (permalink)
 
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Mostly by the Mau Mau.
Which bring us back to the topic: When those that our troops are up against (Mau Mau, Taliban, etc.) are carrying out such atrocities, it is difficult for those troops that we have sent there and see those atrocities to continue to behave as we might continue to do while we ride on that Clapham omnibus. They should, but it is difficult. And it should be equally difficult for us to judge them.
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Old 11th Jan 2017, 21:52   #19 (permalink)
 
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Mostly by the Mau Mau.
I wouldn't argue with you about that, but the video I have clearly shows that we were behaving in a not too dissimilar way.

The video shows rockets and machine guns being fired at a village, presumably one where the Mau Mau had been reported to have been staying. It was indiscriminate, there was no specific targeting, this flight (1340 Flight) had been tasked to destroy that village, men, women, children, the lot. They did. The straw roofs caught fire and when people ran out of the huts they were strafed with machine gun fire.

The pilots were just doing their duty, and saw it as a legitimate action against the enemy, I'm sure. It was only later when the whole truth came out, and I'm not even sure the whole truth is out now, that some, like the pilot that asked me to dispose of all this 1340 flight stuff, had second thoughts about what they had been doing out there.

What I do know is that I have a pile of 1340 flight memorabilia, that was disowned by it's deceased pilot owner long before his death, sitting here. The photos are all just young men enjoying time in Kenya, it's the cine film from the cockpit that is, almost certainly, evidence of what might now be considered a war crime. I know who took that film, on what day and from which aircraft in the flight, but, to the best of my knowledge there are only two or three surviving members of 1340 flight now, and what good would come of raking this all up now?
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Old 11th Jan 2017, 22:01   #20 (permalink)
 
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So why do so here?
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