Army accused of covering up war crimes and killing children in Afghanistan and Iraq

The Canary

The government and the army have been accused of covering up the killing of children in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Leaked documents allegedly contain evidence implicating British troops in killing children and the torture of civilians.

A joint investigation by the BBC and Sunday Times said it had obtained new evidence from inside the Iraq Historic Allegations Team (IHAT), which investigated alleged war crimes committed by British soldiers in Iraq, and Operation Northmoor, which investigated alleged war crimes in Afghanistan.

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The Government closed IHAT and Operation Northmoor in 2017, after Phil Shiner, a solicitor who had taken more than 1,000 cases to IHAT, was struck off from practising law amid allegations he had paid people in Iraq to find clients.

But some former IHAT and Operation Northmoor investigators said Mr Shiner’s actions were used as an excuse to close down the inquiries.

No case investigated by IHAT or Operation Northmoor has led to a prosecution.

An IHAT detective told Panorama:

The Ministry of Defence had no intention of prosecuting any soldier of whatever rank he was unless it was absolutely necessary, and they couldn’t wriggle their way out of it.

The year-long investigation claims to have found evidence of murders by an SAS soldier, as well as deaths in custody, beatings, torture and sexual abuse of detainees by members of the Black Watch.

A senior SAS commander was referred to prosecutors for attempting to pervert the course of justice, the investigation claims.

Contacted by the PA news agency, a Ministry of Defence (MoD) spokesman said:

Allegations that the MoD interfered with investigations or prosecution decisions relating to the conduct of UK forces in Iraq and Afghanistan are untrue.

Throughout the process the decisions of prosecutors and the investigators have been independent of the MoD and involved external oversight and legal advice.

The MoD said cases were referred to the independent Service Prosecuting Authority (SPA) as a result of investigations in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Cases from Iraq were referred as a result of historic investigations. It is untrue to claim cases investigated under Operation Northmoor in Afghanistan were not acted upon. After careful investigation, overseen by a former chief constable, no Northmoor cases were referred to prosecutors,” the spokesperson said.

The MoD also said Service Police undertook extensive investigations into allegations about the conduct of UK forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that the SPA decided not to prosecute any of the cases referred to it.

The spokesperson said:

Our military served with great courage and professionalism in Iraq and Afghanistan and we hold them to the highest standards. It is Government policy that military operations are conducted in accordance with the Law of Armed Conflict and where allegations are raised, they are investigated.

The Sunday Times’ claims have been passed to the Service Police and the Service Prosecuting Authority who remain open to considering allegations.

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    1. or in other more accurate words ….

      …Our Military served (illegally, but mostly) with great courage and professionalism in Iraq and Afghanistan and we hold them to the highest standards (unless of course some have committed serious crimes, and then we’ll back them all the way regardless, in order to maintain our facade). It is Government policy (not law mind, but policy) that military operations are conducted in accordance with the Law of Armed Conflict, and where allegations are raised, they are investigated (with all the vigour and vim of a criminal covering their own tracks).

      Military personnel who engage in breaking the Laws of Armed Conflict are a disgrace to themselves, their Unit and Regiment, the entire UK Military infrastructure, The Queen, their friends, families, Democracy and our Country. They are criminals who should be prosecuted for their crimes, and because our Military standards are supposedly so high, that should be a very public affair, so that claims like “…we hold them to the highest standards…” can be trusted and believed.

      Currently, that cannot be believed because The MOD, like the Government and MSM, have for some time been equally guilty of Cognitive Dissonance. As soon as Bush made it US Law that their Military was exempt from Internationally recognised agreements, Laws and prosecutions (they can pick and choose which Law they’ll abide by), the UK MOD was quick to abandon hard-won, historically-grown wisdom, and copy the Americans.

      We either have Laws which are respected and obeyed, or there is no point in any Law, and we may as well forget the whole concepts of Society, or Civilization, and just be our animal selves with no restraint, and with only self-preservation as our guiding morality.

      I am not anti-military, but I do believe our Military MUST be Law-bound, and it MUST maintain (or in our case) RECOVER it’s lost standing. We are NOT Americans, this is NOT America, and our Military MUST be led by, and accountable to the Laws we have created, and the Laws to which we have signed Internationally with others.

      Allowing our troops to engage in military and civil criminality, and get away with it, is deeply damaging to our forces’ reputations, their long-standing tradition of honourable engagement in the prosecution of military objectives, and overall degrades The Services down to the level of state-sponsored thugs, not the proud and honourable Warriors they should be.

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