Friday, October 13, 2006

Brit Coroner Wants US Soldiers Prosecuted in Journalist's Death

From Reuters:
OXFORD (Reuters) - One of Britain's most experienced journalists was unlawfully killed by U.S. soldiers in Iraq, a British inquest into his death ruled on Friday, prompting calls for the perpetrators to be tried for war crimes.
British assistant deputy coroner (Reuters names him "coroner", perhaps to exaggerate his standing and thus the authority of his words) Andrew Walker was unusually vocal in his condemnation of American soldiers and Marines after his inquest into the death of British journalist Terry Lloyd in March, 2003.
"He was fired on by American soldiers as a minibus carried wounded people away."

"I have no doubt it was an unlawful act of fire on the minibus."

"It was a despicable, deliberate, vengeful act."
But wait, this journalist was wandering around an active war zone during a massive invasion, and the Reuters account notes that he was not embedded with Coalition forces, as were virtually all other journalists covering the invasion at the time.

The assistant deputy coroner also fancies himself an expert in military tactics. From an earlier story in the Guardian:
Andrew Walker, the coroner, said the danger in which the soldiers were put should have been anticipated. "If the proper procedures had been followed then no one should have been allowed to use that route," the coroner said. "Headquarters knew that it was a dangerous area and they were advising people not to go near that area."
It seems apparent that this "coroner" is abusing his position to advance his own anti-war agenda. The Reuters account includes a quote from Walker that leaves little doubt that he had pre-judged the case:
He said the unlawful killing verdict had been "inescapable" and had come about because "U.S. forces appear to have allowed their soldiers to behave like trigger-happy cowboys".
They're allowed to be so "trigger-happy" that they need to permission to return fire coming from mosques.

The British government has allowed one of its coroners to behave like a trigger-happy cowboy. He should be relieved of his responsibilities forthwith.