Christina Lamb reports on the case of Royal Marine Sergeant Blackman, now cleared of murdering a Taliban fighter in 2011.
How did one High Court Judge find Sgt Blackman guilty of murder while another dismissed the charge? It seems that crucial evidence was deliberately with-held at his original trial. Sergeant Blackman was therefore ‘sentenced by an authority blind to facts that offered serious mitigation on his behalf.’ This resulted in ‘a failure of moral courage by the chain of command, the burden of which was carried by the man under command.’
We know that Sgt Blackman was deliberately abandoned to this fate because the one officer willing to speak up for him was silenced and eventually resigned his commission in order to present his evidence at the second trial.
It is another sad example of how the military top brass continue to fail the men and women under their command, eroding the values and standards on which the British military is founded.
SPIN ZHIRA: Old Man in Helmand is the unauthorised, unvarnished and irreverent story of one man’s midlife crisis on the front line of the most dangerous district in Afghanistan where the locals haven’t forgiven the British for the occupation of 1842 or for the Russian Invasion of 1979. Of course, all infidels look the same so you can’t really tell them apart.
‘Brims with authenticity and dark humour.’
Patrick Hennessey, bestselling author of The Junior Officers’ Reading Club
Doug Beattie, bestselling author of An Ordinary Soldier
‘A must read.’
Richard Dorney, bestselling author of The Killing Zone
‘The best book by a soldier concerning the Afghan War that I have read’
Frank Ledwidge, bestselling author of Losing Small Wars
SOLDIER The official magazine of the British Army
‘Not just for soldiers’
William Reeve, BBC World Service and Afghanistan Correspondent