Friday, March 16, 2007

War on Terror - Inquests, trials and escapes

Friendly Fire incident 'unlawful'

A coroner has delivered a verdict of “unlawful death” after a lengthy inquest into the death of Lance Corporal Matty Hull. The so called ‘friendly fire’ incident was also described as “entirely avoidable”. His widow, Susan Hull, told a large media presence that “it was the right verdict”. She also said she felt a “great sense of relief that it’s over”. But she had reservations, “what that (verdict) means is that it was entirely avoidable”

The coroner, Andrew Walker, has described the American authorities as not being as forthcoming as they might be. Vital pieces of evidence were withheld from the Coroners court in Oxford. Documents that were supplied had large tracts blacked out. The cockpit video from one of the planes involved in the incident was also withheld and originally its existence denied. However following the leak of the video by The Sun newspaper, the US authorities relented to allowing portions of the video to be shown. The BBC described the exchange between the two pilots who engaged the British convoy as “chilling” whilst Sky news described the footage as 'dramatic' [BBC].

21/7 Terror Trial hears from alleged would-be bomber

One of the 6 men standing trial for the failed 21/7 terror attacks in London has given evidence. Muktar Ibrahim told the court he admitted constructing the ‘devices’ but that it was not his intention for them to explode. Being questioned by George Carter Stevenson QC, defending, he described the incident as a protest and said his reasoning was “the plight of Muslims everywhere and especially in Iraq.” Ibrahim said he was on the bus but denied he was a suicide bomber. He also denied taking part in terror training during a visit to Africa [BBC].

Fertilizer bomb plot Terror Trial - Jury considers verdict

Meanwhile the jury has retired to consider its verdict in another terror trial. All six men deny all charges relating to an alleged plot. The evidence presented to the court includes 500 Kg of fertilizer which the prosecution allege was to form part of a bombing campaign. Omar Khyam, 25, his brother Shujah Mahmood, 20, Waheed Mahmood, 34, and Jawad Akbar, 23, all from Crawley, West Sussex; Anthony Garcia, 25, of Barkingside, east London; Nabeel Hussain, 21, of Horley, Surrey; and Salahuddin Amin, 31, of Luton, Bedfordshire, deny conspiring to cause explosions likely to endanger life between January 1 2003 and March 31 2004 [BBC].

Iraq is 'obviously a Civil War' says John Bolton

John Bolton, the former UN Ambassador to the United States, talking about Iraq has said, “It’s obviously a civil war” [IHT]. He also blamed the insurgency and sectarian violence as having less to do with the presence of US troops than the “historical roots” of sectarianism within the country. James Rubin, a former Presidential assistant and the current Sky News World Affairs Commentator, described Bolton’s comments as being “a little late in saying he knew it all the time that the risk of civil war was possible.” He said that the situation was a “factional war in a civil war rather than a civil war.” He said the comments from John Bolton epitomized the ‘neo con revisionism’ which was brewing in the US.

Meanwhile Sky News finished their in depth coverage on Iraq today [Inside Iraq]. The five days of special reports have brought viewers a deep insight into the lives of ordinary Iraqis as well as the continuing violence. Today’s reported deaths were less than in previous days. Five civilians were reported killed, and two Iraqi police and two coalition troops were also killed. Over the last five days 192 civilians have died. In the same period Sky News said 32 Iraqi police and 14 coalition troops had been killed. The insurgents were said to have lost 17 fighters.

Iraqi prison escape

Their numbers may be made up after a number of detainees escaped from a Basra prison facility in southern Iraq. Major David Gell told the BBC the army “became aware yesterday” that 11 prisoners “could not be accounted for.” He described the incident as a “coordinated escape” in which prisoners had exchanged clothes with visitors. Saying that the escape would be “looked into” he said it was a “regrettable incident” but that all efforts would be made to recapture those who had escaped [BBC].
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