“I regret the anxiety caused to those soldiers by the delay in the same way I regret the anxiety caused to the families of the deceased.”
If you want the perfect example of the moral-relativist cancer which is eating away at the West and making every one of us more vulnerable to the very real and present threat of Islamist terror, look no further than that nauseating quote from a human rights lawyer called John Dickinson, representing a firm laughably named Public Interest Lawyers.
Public Interest? You’ve got to be bloody joking mate.
Dickinson was speaking at the end of a five year inquiry which has cost the UK taxpayer £31 million, nearly £1 million of which has ended up in the grubby pockets of Dickinson and his fellow hyenas at Public Interest Lawyers.
Quite why they are being paid a penny for their efforts is a mystery to me given what we now know – as a result of that lengthy, costly inquiry – about the wretched dishonesty of the claim they tried to bring against the cash-strapped Ministry of Defence on behalf of Iraqi jihadists allegedly tortured, murdered and mutilated by the British Army in the aftermath of the second Gulf War.
Those jihadists are the people Dickinson is referring to above when he talks about the “deceased.” Apparently, in Dickinson’s world view, they deserve the same amount of respect and expensive legal representation as the soldiers his law firm falsely accused of having murdered them.
But the facts simply don’t support this view.
The soldiers in question – members Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and the 1st Battalion Princess of Wales’s Regiment – had fought a series of bloody, close-quarters actions against Shia insurgents from the Mahdi Army in May 2004.
Having acquitted themselves bravely, their reward was to have their reputation dragged through the dirt by two, notorious ambulance-chasing law firms specialising in the lucrative field of “human rights”. One was Public Interest Lawyers, the other was Leigh Day.
According to the case brought by the Human Rights Hyenas, the insurgents weren’t terrorist militiamen but innocent farmers, and they hadn’t been killed in action but had been murdered and mutilated. It goes almost without saying, that this apparent scandal was relayed with much enthusiasm by the left-liberal media – including the BBC in a 2008 Panorama documentary called On Whose Orders.
We now that these claims were entirely without foundation. Sir Thayne Forbes, the former High Court judge who presided over the inquiry could scarcely have been clearer.
The allegations were the product of “deliberate and calculated lies” from Iraqi witnesses and were “wholly and entirely without merit or justification.”
What’s worse is that the lawyers bringing these spurious claims had in their possession all along a document which, had they released it, would have spared the British taxpayer the cost of that £31 million inquiry, and spared those wronged, innocent soldiers the misery of having to wait five years to discover whether or not they were going to be found guilty of a “crime” they hadn’t committed.
The document, in the possession of Leigh Day since 2007, clearly showed that the dead men were members of the Shiite militia and not innocent farmers or students. Yet, for reasons which have not yet been satisfactorily explained, this document was shredded a day before it was due to be handed over by Leigh Day to the officials presiding over the case.
Even without this worrying detail, though, the case against Leigh Day and Public Interest Lawyers looks damning enough. By what insane definition of “justice” or – one more time – the “public interest” can it be right for ambulance-chasing British law firms to seek out enemy combatants and jihadist sympathisers with a view to bringing costly, reputationally damaging claims against the British army?
The idea that such people might prove in any way reliable as witnesses is laughable.
But what’s even more laughable is that our current legal system made such a vexatious and dishonest claim possible.
Douglas Murray makes a similar point in this must-read commentary in the Spectator. He is talking about the way our handwringing media – on both the left and the right – has chosen to make rather too much of that politically motivated report produced by the Democrats in the US Senate on torture. But it applies just as well to this case.
The current war is very different from the second world war. Our enemy is not so very different. But the casualties to date are infinitely lower and most populations around the world do not yet face anything like the threat that they faced back then. But this war is also several times longer already. And to a greater extent than any previous war in history, it is being played out as much in terms of public opinion via the media (witness the Sydney gunman’s use of Facebook and YouTube) as in the cafes of Sydney and the schools of Northern Pakistan. The drip-drip of negative news could do some good. Or it could, if sustained for long enough, result in a stultifying and morally appalling form of equivalence and despair from here and America.
Which is why today is also a day when it is worth remembering that, no, we are not ‘just as bad as them’. British and American troops do not go into schools and deliberately gun down students. In fact, in recent years, British and American soldiers have been gunned down in Afghanistan and Iraq while trying to protect Muslim children going to school in safety, in spite of the extremists from their own religion. That is a truth worth keeping in mind. But it is a truth that is slipping, in the face of a concerted campaign. A campaign which may be political and partisan at one end, but which is – at the other end – simple drum-beating by civilisation’s enemies.
He’s right. If we took the War on Terror as seriously as we ought to be taking it, those Human Rights Hyenas wouldn’t be being paid, at taxpayers expense, large sums of money which would have been far better spent on defence of the realm. They would be being tried for treason.