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UK Troops' anger over US 'friendly fire'

Hop-head US pilot bags Brits. This incident proves that the US is still expecting to see enemy tanks operating inside Iraq. That means the war isn't over. The Iraqi are fighting back.
The British Scimitars have distinctive markings
The British Scimitars have distinctive markings
By Patrick Barkham
On the RFA Argus in the Gulf

Three wounded UK soldiers have described how they survived an attack by a US A-10 Thunderbolt anti-tank aircraft that killed one of their troop and destroyed two armoured vehicles.
One of the survivors criticised the US pilot for showing "no regard for human life" and accused him of being "a cowboy" who had "gone out on a jolly".


Another survivor said he stumbled out of the burning wreckage of his light tank and waved frantically to the American pilot to try to halt his second attack.
The so-called friendly fire incident, 40 kilometres (24.8 miles) north of Basra, left one soldier missing, presumed dead, and another in intensive care on RFA Argus, the UK forces' hospital ship in the Gulf.

Another soldier who had been in one of the two destroyed Scimitar light reconnaissance tanks, manned by the Household Cavalry, escaped without injury.

Nursing shrapnel wounds and burns, the three injured soldiers, Lieutenant Alex MacEwen, 25, Lance Corporal of Horse Steven Gerrard, 33, and Trooper Chris Finney, 18, spoke of their bewilderment and anger.

They said the US pilot apparently failed to recognise that their tanks were a British make, with special coalition identification aids and even a large Union flag on another machine in the five-vehicle convoy.

Advanced technology

Lance Corporal Gerrard said: "All this kit has been provided by the Americans. They've said if you put this kit on you won't get shot.

"We can identify a friendly vehicle from 1,500 metres [4,921 ft].

"You've got an A-10 with advanced technology and he can't use a thermal sight to identify whether a tank is a friend or foe. It's ridiculous.


I felt I was going to burn to death. I just shouted 'reverse, reverse, reverse'
Lance Corporal of Horse Steven Gerrard
"Combat is what I've been trained for. I can command my vehicle. I can keep it from being attacked.
"What I have not been trained to do is look over my shoulder to see whether an American is shooting at me."

The two Scimitars, followed by two armoured engineers' vehicles and another Scimitar light tank, set out on a "recce" of a road north west of Ad Dayr, north of Basra in southern Iraq, on Friday.

After coming under fire from Iraqi artillery, they were instructed to investigate a shanty town.

Troop leader Lieutenant MacEwen, 25, with special plastic bags now tied around his hands to treat his burns, described how the convoy tensed as villagers waving white flags approached from behind a large bank on the marshland by the Shatt al-Arab river.

"You could see the white flags above the bank but you didn't know whether they had any intention of surrendering or ambushing us," he said.

White light

Lance Corporal Gerrard said he suddenly heard the distinctive, relentless roar of an A-10's anti-tank gunfire.

"I will never forget that noise as long as I live. It is a noise I never want to hear again," he said.


"There was no gap between the bullets. I heard it and I froze. The next thing I knew the turret was erupting with white light everywhere, heat and smoke.
"I felt I was going to burn to death. I just shouted 'reverse, reverse, reverse'.

"My gunner was screaming 'get out, get out'. How I got out of that hole I don't know. Then I saw the A-10 coming again and I just ran."

Lying on his hospital bed, he said the A-10 circled and made a return attack run.

"On the back of one of the engineers' vehicles there was a Union Jack," he said.

"For him to fire his weapons I believe he had to look through his magnified optics. How he could not see that Union Jack I don't know."

Tempting fate

The front two Scimitars, packed with hundreds of rounds of ammunition, grenades, rifle rounds and flammable diesel fuel tanks, exploded into flames.

One of the soldiers' colleagues, Lance Corporal of Horse Matty Hull, did not escape the explosion.


Lance Corporal Gerrard also criticised the pilot for shooting when there were civilians so close to the tanks.
"There was a boy of about 12-years-old. He was no more than 20 metres [65.6 ft] away when the Yank opened up. There were all these civilians around.

"He [the pilot] had absolutely no regard for human life. I believe he was a cowboy. He'd just gone out on a jolly."

He added: "I'm curious about what's going to happen to the pilot.

"He's killed one of my friends and he's killed him on the second run."

Trooper Finney, who was hit in the leg when the A-10 made its second attack, said all the British soldiers and their families joked about "friendly fire".

He said: "I got a letter off my dad the day before the attack and it said 'Be careful, come home soon and watch out for those damn Yanks'.

"Looks like he tempted fate a bit there."

This is pooled copy from Patrick Barkham of the Times on RFA Argus in the Gulf.

Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/2901515.stm
Everyone here 30.Mar.2004 13:53

James

Has access to the BBC, to Yahoo News, to the various wire reports. There's no reason to spastically re-post it all.

Interesting article. 30.Mar.2004 14:02

Tony Blair's dog

Thanks for posting it!

Yes James they do 30.Mar.2004 14:08

but do you get to talk about

these stories on BBC,Yahoo News etc. no you don't and not everybody goes to those web sites James. I would hope this site keeps these reposts going, and I do belive it is why they have an option thats called reposts so people dont have to go all over the damn internet to find out whats going on. In short James piss off.

Poor buggers! 30.Mar.2004 15:17

bloak

I couldn't imagine a country going to this war when they haven't even been attacked or threatened with an attack at all. Not that the USA has any excuse at all. But its completely ridiculous for English people to be there. Not that I particularly sympathize with killers, but they signed up to do in their eyes a noble thing to protect their country. And now there in this mess. Bloody hell!

seconded 30.Mar.2004 15:26

.

thanks for posting it.

to james 30.Mar.2004 15:31

clamydia

Some people here don't read news from those sources. It's kinda funny how you are dissing this article, seeing as how it is so easy to avoid it by simply not clicking on it.

'James' is a spastic asshole. 30.Mar.2004 15:56

author of comment

James,

there are a lot of European - MidEast - Asian news outlets with stories of daily significance for the progressive activist community. especially when they concern events occurring in imperially-occupied Iraq or Afghanistan.

when people regularly cull those sites' articles for repost here, it not only saves many of us that time spent, but as 'clamydia' said exposes many people to non-U.S.-corporate-media views, perspectives and events they'd otherwise not hear about.

reposted here, it's also convenient for researchers not having to constantly log onto or re-link sources external to IMC - keeps the information self-contained. sometimes the article information goes out-of-date or is removed at the original sites, too - then it's only archive evidence is at the IMC (or another archival site like The Memory Hole  http://www.thememoryhole.org/ or Information Clearing House  http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/)

and as 'clamydia' also said - if you don't care about something on the newswire, don't click on it.

however 30.Mar.2004 16:06

media activist

Relying on the corporate media serves to reinforce the notion that the corporate media is a reliable source of information. Rather than reposting a story why not write up a commentary on a story or set of stories instead? That way you are contributing to what indymedia is all about, the empowerment of people to tell their own stories. Give the links to the corporate media for those who choose to partake in that particular poison.

Nothing wrong with the article 30.Mar.2004 16:08

James

"It's kinda funny how you are dissing this article, seeing as how it is so easy to avoid it by simply not clicking on it."

True, it's easy enough not to click on the link. But when I'm browsing the PDX IMC newswire, I don't know whether something is a re-post until I click on it. If people insist on re-posting "corporate media" content here, which I find a bit silly and counter-productive, at the least it would be nice if some prefix or suffix was given to the headline, to indicate it's a re-posting. Perhaps, "UK Troops' anger over US 'friendly fire' [re-post]" would be sufficient.

I'm not telling, obviously, merely asking.

And I wasn't dissing the article. I was dissing the spastic re-posting of "corporate news" on the newswire. I find it annoying. It causes other (arguably more important, original, or relevant content) to scroll off the newswire more quickly than it otherwise would. (Which tends to limit discussion).

I don't see the point of posting (so many) re-posts to the newswire. There are literally thousands of other sites which aggregate various news sources.

Indymedia is unique for other reasons. Local content, by local people. Alternative news. Discussion.

Look at what Dire Wolf has posted these past few days. By and large, it's all the same old major stories of the news cycle, as told by the "corporate media." So far Dire Wolf has posted three times today, and all items were from the "corporate media." Times, Fox News (Or, the subject was the corporate media in this case), Reuters.

This is all stuff that's available all over the web. No need to pollute these pages with it.

I may be an asshole, granted, but I'm not spastic.

again 30.Mar.2004 16:45

author of comment

'media activist' makes an excellent point to "write up a commentary on a story or set of stories instead". It's a good and effective thing to encapsulate or critically analyze some of these reports - whether or not they are originating from U.S. corporate media - for an independent perspective on the news stream.

thanks, 'media activist' for reminding us of this.

and 'James':

"And I wasn't dissing the article. I was dissing the spastic re-posting of "corporate news" on the newswire. I find it annoying. It causes other (arguably more important, original, or relevant content) to scroll off the newswire more quickly than it otherwise would. (Which tends to limit discussion)."

--can you please cite specific examples? I see all the local, original, relevant content and discussion right here on the newswire. If a particular story or two are of *supreme* importance, then Portland IMC editors can feature it in the center column to make sure everyone sees it, and that it doesn't scroll away. Is the Portland IMC newswire supposed to remain static for DAYS and WEEKS on end, just for your convenience, 'James'? are there stories you'd like to see, that you're not seeing here? Please do write, comment on, or repost them yourself.

"I don't see the point of posting (so many) re-posts to the newswire. There are literally thousands of other sites which aggregate various news sources. Indymedia is unique for other reasons. Local content, by local people. Alternative news. Discussion."

--long-winded rehash, James - see above. we know and have discussed all of this already, above.

"Look at what Dire Wolf has posted these past few days. By and large, it's all the same old major stories of the news cycle, as told by the "corporate media." So far Dire Wolf has posted three times today, and all items were from the "corporate media." Times, Fox News (Or, the subject was the corporate media in this case), Reuters."

--please provide specific IMC links when you spastically comment on this. I don't see a Times, Fox, or Reuters repost / reference from 'Dire Wolf'. and I really don't feel like dissing 'Dire Wolf' today about what he does and doesn't repost, either - if that was your specific intent here then please clarify it as such initially. (you could also be the 'Dire Wolf' Gestapo Patrol **all by yourself** 'James', and go down the wire where ever you see his reposts, dissing him article-by-article as you go . . . that's what the comment feature on each article is for, 'James' . . .)

and as 'clamydia' said - it's your prerogative to ignore things on the newswire.

"This is all stuff that's available all over the web. No need to pollute these pages with it."

--see above for comments and specifics.

"I may be an asshole, granted, but I'm not spastic."

--you're both, 'James'. please accept it.

further to 'media activist' 30.Mar.2004 16:56

author of comment

"why not write up a commentary on a story or set of stories instead?"

--an example of recent U.S. corporate media stories I'd like to see encapsulated / analyzed is the Richard A. Clarke 9-11 commission testimony, effects on Bush administration-their reaction, etc. -

in relation to *independent* 9-11 researchers such as Michael Ruppert, the recent San Francisco 9-11 research convention  http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2004/03/284240.shtml, and completely altrenative explanations to al-Qaeda, U.S. imperialist / espionage community role in 'terrorism', etc.

the difference between what is being accepted as the "official story" of 9-11 is now changing, but how much, really? how is Clarke's testimony altering what U.S. corporate media has reported since that day, and thus far? can U.S. corporate media be held accountable, along with the administration's lies?

to 'James' - and PDX IMC techs - on reposts 30.Mar.2004 17:39

author of comment

just though of this while washing the dishes -

'James' had mentioned:

"But when I'm browsing the PDX IMC newswire, I don't know whether something is a re-post until I click on it. If people insist on re-posting "corporate media" content here, which I find a bit silly and counter-productive, at the least it would be nice if some prefix or suffix was given to the headline, to indicate it's a re-posting. Perhaps, "UK Troops' anger over US 'friendly fire' [re-post]" would be sufficient."

--well 'James', this isn't entirely a problem, because there's already a pull-down menu to select all the different article categories, by region, topic, or featured action. if you click any single one of the categories, your web-page view of Portland IMC will automatically re-fresh itself to show only the postings of that category, region, or featured action.

but what I was thinking of was, an option button to select **everything ___except___ reposts** -

can this be done?

it would help 'James' to re-fresh everything on the current newswire that *isn't* a repost from somewhere else, and save him the trouble of clicking individual articles to find out.

clarification 30.Mar.2004 18:40

author of comment

sorry, what I actually meant was the 'genres' / 'regions' / 'topic pages' / 'actions' / 'resources' selection buttons (not the pull-down menus, which are for searches),

<< here in the column immediately to your left.

for example, could the 'genres' selector be set up look like this:

genres
-------
announcements
commentary
coverage
creative
reposts
**all except reposts**

to james 31.Mar.2004 06:39

clamydia

You know, I just realized that if you hover your arrow over the link to the story, a little text box will pop up that says what genre the story was posted under. This one right here pops up the word "reposts"... So the problem has already been solved.

What once was true is true today 31.Mar.2004 11:44

Old European

A veteran of the UK forces in Italy in WW2 said :

"When our planes went over, the enemy dived for cover. When the enemy's planes came over, we dived for cover. When the Yanks' planes came over, *everybody* dived for cover!"