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Marine A
October 29, 2015

Joined: May 12, 2014
Posts: 683
Marine A

October 29, 2015

Many of the Royal Marines family used today's anniversary of the Corps' founding  to support their comrade Sgt Blackmann currently incarcerated for murder in HMP. I have read a huge amount about this case and the events surrounding the act that saw him charged with murder as well as the events that followed. This marine SNCO committed an offence, there is absolutely no doubt about that. Whichever way and with whatever compassion one views it, an offence was committed. That said; I am equally sure that his trial and subsequent treatment was a gross betrayal of the covenant of care and loyalty sworn by successive Govts to our armed forces.

This SNCO fought in 3 tours of Afghanistan. During his last tour he witnessed the most dreadful atrocities by the Taliban on many of his comrades. He, like other British servicemen and women, were  constrained by the "fire only when fired upon" order of the day that could only ever have been imposed on our troops by those not in the front line themselves. He saw first hand the limbs of dead and mutilated British servicemen hung in the trees by the Taliban, he saw and experienced the death of many friends. If the reports to date are accurate his Troop had been left virtually unsupported and isolated in a hugely volatile and dangerous part of the war zone for months on end. He and his men were used as bait to try and lure the Taliban into attacking their daily patrols. Add in the ever present myriad IEDs, the heat, the exhaustion of battle, the constant fear, the feeling of helplessness and lack of support and is it any wonder he snapped.  It matters not whether he believed the wounded Taliban lying at his feet was actually dead or not, although medical experts have concluded that COULD well have been the case despite the eye and mouth movements shown on the IPhone footage taken by the Cpl who was present at the event. Either way this SNCO shot a wounded or a dead prisoner in contravention of the Articles of War and the Geneva Convention.

What is missing from all of this,  his trial and his post operational treatment is ANY recognition of his state of mind when the offence occurred, ANY compassion for the terrors he had witnessed, the stress he was under and the fact that the shooting took place immediately after a hectic and terrifying gun battle. In my opinion, his imprisonment is a political sop to all the do gooders and those who have never had to face a bullet let alone a horde of ganga crazed, flip flop wearing, rag head terrorists armed with better weapons than our own troops. The media inspired campaign for his release has resulted in over £805,000 being collected to fund a retrial. the MOD has reacted in typical ostrich "head in the sand" mode, it banned serving soldiers et al from attending today's parade.

This Marine should have been charged and punished. He broke the law, he disobeyed QRs and he acted outwith the RsOE and Articles of War that prevailed in Theatre. BUT: is it really right that he should serve a life sentence, alongside child killers, rapists, mass murderers et al? Is it really just that no account was taken of the whole set of sorry circumstances he found himself in when the offence took place. NO, No and No in my opinion. A charge of manslaughter with extreme provocation would have served the law AND  allowed this man to have been given a non custodial sentence. It would also have shown the world that we DO have some understanding of the horrors our servicemen and women face and we are not too quick to pass judgement expecting the fog of war to have no influence on the actions of otherwise brave and loyal men and women.

Finally; it has said that the vast majority of our forces DID and DO abide by the rules of war and didn't shoot prisoners. BUT; we all have a breaking point, who knows what that Marine's state of mind was when he shot that Taliban? Not me and certainly not those who sat in (biased) judgement on him because it now transpires crucial evidence was suppressed during his GCM.. He should be freed immediately, his continued incarceration serves no purpose at all and, given the large number of murdering scum who have been freed by tree hugging judges in the recent past, he should be given the support he deserves.I read he was in line for a bravery award before this matter came to light, that surely speaks volumes for him.

I welcome other views on the matter.

October 29, 2015

Joined: May 5, 2014
Posts: 556
Marine A

October 29, 2015

David, As ever, an extremely well thought out & eloquent appraisal of the whole sorry saga - I 100% agree with all you have said, the only Q I have is this ;  Who was the Cpl who took it upon himself to not only record   the event, but  then "grass up" Sgt Blackman, ? Was it to become  either  a "holier than though" type, or some jealous, begrudging individual who thought it would enhance his promotion chances ? Whatever the motive, I bet he's not overly popular within the Royal Marines ! John (JKW)

October 30, 2015

Joined: May 8, 2014
Posts: 1204
Marine A

October 30, 2015

I like you David find it hard to believe the happenings,from one point of view he "put" a wounded taliban out his misery, another point of view he took revenge for the happenings of previous tours/actions . Which ever way you look at it his Cpl should have disposed of the video , no matter what rank when the bullets start flying your there to defend look after your soldiers/mates as they would do for you, it seems the boot necks have forgotten that. It's a sad day for all involved,it could have been brushed under the carpet BUT we have powers that be that have never been the position of Blackman or many of of serving men and woman ,so yes he broke a law (, remembering all the pamphlets we had just to patrol the streets of N I they must have now got one for every day of the week ) what law did he break ?? The one about being caught doing something stupid on camera !!!!!

October 30, 2015

Joined: May 14, 2014
Posts: 977
Marine A

October 30, 2015

That Marine sergeant was only doing his duty, leading his men in action, and protecting them in a very dangerous situation. Just imagine how much of the brown stuff would have been stirred up if that wounded Afghan had recovered enough to kill more of that unit?? He had his weapon close to hand, too. Come on, get real, the sergeant was doing his job, leading and protecting his men. Surely we as ex servicemen realise that, and he seems to have done his duty very well. Let us put some of our politicians in the same situation, they would probably have shot themselves in the foot to avoid going into action in the first place. ( if they knew how to fire the gun). I would like to think that we would protect one another in similar circumstances, come hell or high water. Politicians are good at pontificating and dodging the issue, they would be off like a rocket if anyone told THEM to go into an action these Marines were sent to do. Release the Marine Sergeant immediately.

October 30, 2015

Joined: May 12, 2014
Posts: 683
Marine A

October 30, 2015

It is my understanding that the Cpl who took the video let others share it and it "did the rounds" for a while ( I think almost a year) before the police got hold of it and the shit hit the fan. Like I said, what really irks me is the lack of support Sgt Blackman received from the brass hats, the lack of compassion and understanding of what he and his men had been through. If the reports I have read, some of them from investigations undertaken on behalf of  Frederick Forsythe, who is spearheading the campaign to free this man, the top brass were guilty of failing to support this SNCO and his men for months on end as they faced the most horrific set of circumstances. This whole case is a whitewash. The GCM failed to uncover all the salient facts, apparently 2 of the Board found him not guilty, evidence was allegedly suppressed as were medical reports into his state of mind at the time of the shooting. As I said above, the whole desperately sorry saga is an appeasement to the myriad armchair generals, the tree huggers, the  do gooders and those who would poo their pants if they had to contend with one thousandth of what this courageous SNCO faced. Meanwhile, banks of ENGLISH lawyers continue to ambulance chase Iraqis and Afghans entreating them to claim they were abused or  whatever by British Troops in efforts to sue the MOD and make the lawyers shed loads of money. £tens of millions has been spent defending these claims, the Govt has been bleating they were going to take legal steps to stop these entirely vexatious claims from progressing and have singularly failed to do anything at all. It is a travesty. It is a blatant breach of the Covenant of Care sworn to by successive Governments and it really underpins Rudyard Kipling's poignant poem of Tommy Atkins. Heroes when we are defending the realm, scum once we return, is the essence of that piece of poetry. Some might think nothing has changed since the late 19th century!!

October 30, 2015

Joined: May 8, 2014
Posts: 1204
Marine A

October 30, 2015

Now the Tories have an Army the same size of the 19th century , it's alarming that the defence of the realm is in the hands of little boys from Eton


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