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'Abuse' Soldier 'Obeyed Orders'

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A UK soldier accused of abusing civilians in Iraq is a war hero who had been obeying orders, a court martial has been told.

Cpl Daniel Kenyon, 33, denies several abuse charges at a court martial of three soldiers in Osnabruck, Germany.

His defence counsel, Joseph Giret, said orders given by commanding officers were to blame for the alleged abuse.

L/Cpl Mark Cooley also denies all charges. L/Cpl Darren Larkin admits one assault but denies another charge.

The three, all from the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, face a total of nine abuse allegations.

"I hope we do not allow [our disgust at the photographs] to tarnish the good name of the British armed forces." -

Tony Blair

The alleged offences are said to have taken place at an aid camp known as the Bread Basket in Basra, southern Iraq, on or around 15 May 2003 - just weeks after coalition troops had ousted Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

Mr Giret blamed a military plan known as Operation Ali Baba - referring to the story Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves - for the alleged offences.

Camp commander Maj Dan Taylor, responsible for Operation Ali Baba, told his troops to catch looters who had been stealing food and "work them hard", the court heard.

Mr Giret told the court: "The whole reason he [Cpl Kenyon] is in the dock stems from those who gave the order to operate the plan Ali Baba."

This order contravened the Geneva Convention, according to prosecution lawyer Lt Col Nick Clapham.


The court has been shown 22 photographs detailing the alleged abuse.

Prime Minister Tony Blair expressed his "disgust" at the "shocking and appalling" photographs in the House of Commons on Wednesday.

You should have moral courage and when you see something that is wrong, you should report it

Lt Col Nicholas Mercer

Army legal adviser

He told MPs at Prime Minister's Questions that the circumstances in which the alleged events came to take place would be fully investigated by the Army.

But he added: "The vast majority of those 65,000 British soldiers who have served in Iraq have done so with distinction, with courage and with great honour to this country.

"So whilst we express in a unified way, I know, our disgust at those pictures, I hope we do not allow that to tarnish the good name, fully deserved, of the British armed forces."

His view were echoed by Tory leader Michael Howard who said: "The appalling photographs in today's newspapers bring shame on our country.

"But we should recognise they in no way reflect the true character of Britain's armed forces."

'Moral Courage'

Lt Col Nicholas Mercer, senior legal adviser to the Army in Iraq, told the court that soldiers were taught "from the outset" to report any abuse they witnessed.

"What we say is that you should have moral courage and when you see something that is wrong, you should report it," he said.

But he admitted there had been "a number of allegations" that Iraqi civilians were not being treated properly while in custody.

Cpl Kenyon, centre, and L/Cpl Cooley, right, deny the charges

Following these allegations, Col Mercer said he had issued an order stating that detained people should not be assaulted.

He said the rules on treatment of detainees were "straightforward" and involved treating them with "humanity and dignity".

L/Cpl Larkin, 30, from Oldham, Greater Manchester, admitted one charge of assaulting an unknown man in May 2003, but denied another charge.

Cpl Daniel Kenyon, 33, and L/Cpl Mark Cooley, 25, from Newcastle upon Tyne, entered not guilty pleas.

The court martial, expected to last three to four weeks, comes days after a US soldier was sentenced to 10 years in jail for abusing prisoners at Abu Ghraib jail, near Baghdad.


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I don't believe that there were any orders... but that is my opinion... innocent.gif

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"I was ordered to" how many times do people have to throw that one out before they realise it doesnt work.

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Following orders and not ever questioning them? That's too easy a way out of things. Means whoever's following the orders doesn't have much of a mind of their own. Sheep.

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Its always the brass`s fault isn`t it, its never their fault. How about we give them a taste of their own medicine given by those they tortured, it only seems fair to me!

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It is your right as a soldier to refuse to follow an illegal order. It will cause all hell to break loose, but it is the responsibility of the soldier to report illegal orders to their superiors(above the one that gave the order)

As far as that goes; I think that there are very rare times when some degree of torture is justified. It is extremely rare, but I could see situations where when many lives are at stake having to get information out of a person is a necessity. That doesn't mean that I would have jumper cables hooked to every prisoner to see what they may or may not know; that isn't right. If I have a captured commander than knows the details of an upcoming attack against my base; youd better believe I would slap him around to get the information out of him...

Abu Graib and the Brits counterpart were stupid actions by stupid people. The photos I saw made it look like they were having way too much fun doing what they did. The fact that they posed for pictures while doing this stuff shows that none of them were the brightest bulbs in the pack, but the entire time they had the right to stop what they were doing and go to the commander and make a formal complaint; that would have removed them from any responsibility on the matter.

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I will step on a few toes here but you know me

I know that there is the geneva convention and the rest,but are we the only countries that try to uphold it in a war time situation

When wars start ,take the Gulf War for an example ,how many times have we seen pics of our own people beheaded ,dismemberd,tortured you get the rest.

Are they remembering the rules of war,when there own people are killed for the smallest reason,

What our troops have had to witness and go threw makes me feel sick.

Give all the troops out there a break ,a few prisoners have been so called tortured ,if IRAQ had won the war how many of our troops would have bypassed the torture stage and went straight on to the beheading and mutalation stage

At least the tortured prisoners will be getting home

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The theme is if the USa will reduce to the same level of the terrorist or will try to mantain a degree of civilazed conduct. For that is the Geneva convention. Its too easy to say "they are savages, lets trate them like animal, they are killers" . If you reduce to their level, you are no better than them.

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