BBC: At least 1,000 UK soldiers desert

From: Andrew Johnson

Date: 2006-05-28 12:00:01

I think this is gonna make the PTB more desperate – or this news realease has been planned in readiness for the next False Flag event, so that there is backlash.… At least 1,000 UK soldiers desert By Jonathan Charles BBC world affairs correspondent Cases of soldiers deserting the army are said to be risingMore than 1,000 members of the British military have deserted the armed forces since the start of the 2003 Iraq war, the BBC has discovered. It comes as Parliament debates a law that will forbid military personnel refusing to participate in the occupation of a foreign country. During 2005 alone, 377 people deserted and are still missing. So far this year another 189 are on the run. Some 900 have evaded capture since the Iraq war started, official figures say. The Ministry claims it does not keep details of whether desertion is on the rise, but Labour MP John McDonnell told Parliament this week there had been a tripling in cases over the past three years. He was speaking in a debate about new laws which would make refusal to take part in the occupation of a foreign country punishable by a maximum life sentence in prison. I am approached regularly by people who are seeking to absent themselves from service Justin Hugheston-Roberts It is unclear how many troops are deserting because they do not want to go to Iraq and how many are doing so because of personal reasons such as family problems. Lawyers who represent members of the military at courts martial say that they are increasingly being contacted by people who want advice about getting out of having to serve in Iraq, even if they do not want to go to the extreme of deserting. ‘Illegal acts’ Justin Hugheston-Roberts was the solicitor for Flight Lieutenant Malcolm Kendall-Smith who was sentenced to eight months in prison for refusing to follow orders in connection with a deployment to Iraq. He says: “As part of my day to day job, I am approached regularly by people who are seeking to absent themselves from service. There has been an increase, a definite upturn.” There’s a lot of dissent in the Army about the legality of war and concerns that they’re spending too much time there Ben Griffin There is plenty of anecdotal evidence from military personnel that they are demoralised by the continuing conflict in Iraq and the fact that, despite their best efforts, there’s little improvement in the situation there. Ben Griffin was a member of the elite SAS. He told his commanding officer, earlier this year, that he was not prepared to return to Iraq because he said he saw American forces carrying out what he thought were illegal acts. He was allowed to leave the military and he now says: “I was disturbed by the general day-to-day attitude of the American troops. They treated Iraqis with contempt, not like human beings. They had a complete disregard for Iraqi lives and property.” Mr Griffin would never have considered deserting but he says that his views are shared by many others in the British military. He told the BBC: “I can’t speak for others but there’s a lot of dissent in the Army about the legality of war and concerns that they’re spending too much time there”. He says Iraq is different to other conflicts because, in other operations, the main aim is to improve life for the local population and he believes that is not what has happened in Iraq. Mr Griffin says: “There’s contempt for the locals. We don’t even know how many have been killed.” His advice to others is not to desert – but that if they have doubts, they should follow their conscience, speaking out if they think that the Iraq conflict is wrong. The Five Live Report begins with a live discussion at 1100 BST on BBC Radio Five Live and will be followed by a documentary at 1830 BST.

Related articles...

Comments are closed.