Thursday, September 27, 2007

Dad fights for justice over dead hero son


THE father of a heroic soldier who was crushed by a tank whilst saving a colleague has joined a campaign to get legal support for bereaved families.

Terry Pears, 63, of Holstein Way, Erith, spent his life savings paying a lawyer to represent him at his son Jason's inquest. Now £12,000 in debt, he has joined forces with the Deepcut and Beyond Group that campaigns for more financial support for families whose loved ones died in non-combat deaths.

Corporal Jason Pears, of the Royal Green Jackets regiment was killed by a reversing Warrior tank in Paderborn, Germany in 2002. The 31-year-old had been living in Germany with his wife of three months, and was due to leave the service in six months.

Mr Pears told the Times: "When there is an accident, whether it is friendly fire or an accident like Jason's the Army should help the families and not expect them to fund the amount themselves." I believe a lot of people just go along with what they are told, even if it doesn't seem right, because they can't afford a lawyer to go and investigate the death."

Civil servant Mr Pears was planning to retire but has been forced to work until 2011 to clear his debt.

He said: "I don't expect to see the money back, but I was never interested in the money. I was only interested in finding out how my son died."

Solicitor William Bache QC represented the Pears family in November 2004 at the week-long inquest at Flax Bourton Coroners Court, Bristol.Coroners recorded a verdict of unlawful killing.

Mr Pears added: "It was a gross lack of health and safety training."The Deepcut and Beyond Group represent the families of over 40 soldiers killed in non-combat or unexplained circumstances.

Geoff Gray, a founding member of the group from Hackney, said: "Terry had the passion to find out what happened." If he hadn't done it the Army would have put his son would down as a drunk."

A spokesman for the Ministry of Justice said: "The reason they don't provide automatic legal aid is because inquests are not adversarial." No one is on trial at an inquest. If a family believes they have a case they can apply to the Legal Services Commission for help. If it is accepted it is passed on to the legal aid minister."

The group is due to meet Derek Twigg, the under-secretary at the ministry of defence, on October 17 to try and get equal legal funding for families.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Department of Defense Reports on Mental Health Task Force Recommendations

DoD recently sent Congress a corrective action plan to improve mental health care for service members and their families. The plan addresses findings and recommendations presented to DoD by the Task Force on Mental Health in a June 12, 2007, report.

"DoD accepts the responsibility to make the changes needed to provide the highest possible level of care and support to our military community. To achieve that, we are working hard to develop a culture that supports robust psychological health across the services. To this end, we also have to offer choices for our service members, "said Dr. S. Ward Casscells, assistant secretary of defense for health affairs.

DoD's plan addresses six broad categories of recommendations in the Mental Health Task Force's report.

Major categories include:
Leadership, culture and advocacy .
Access to care.
Quality of care.
Resilience building and stigma reduction.
Surveillance, research and evaluation.
Care transition and coordination.

The department is working to provide a comprehensive integrated system of excellence in prevention and care, to meet the needs of individual service members and their families throughout the military lifecycle.

"We have a strong partnership with the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Health and Human Services to build a safety net of care for our military families," Casscells said.

The Task Force on Mental Health was congressionally directed and organized in June 2006 to assess and recommend actions for improving the efficacy of mental health services provided to service members and their families. It includes seven DoD members and seven non-DoD members.

The departments' action plan can be viewed on the health affairs Web site at

Monday, September 24, 2007

Mystery surrounds deaths of Minot airmen

Sat, 22 Sep 2007 23:10:30

Capt. John Frueh Six members of the US Air Force who were involved in the Minot AFB incident, have died mysteriously, an anti-Bush activist group says.

The incident happened when a B-52 bomber was "mistakenly" loaded with six nuclear warheads and flown for more than three hours across several states, prompting an Air Force investigation and the firing of one commander.

The plane was carrying Advanced Cruise Missiles from Minot Air Force Base, N.D, to Barksdale Air Force Base on August 30. The Air Combat Command has ordered a command-wide stand down on September 14 to review procedures, officials said.

The missiles, which are being decommissioned, were mounted onto pylons on the bomber's wings and it is unclear why the warheads had not been removed beforehand.

In addition to the munitions squadron commander who was relieved of his duties, crews involved in the incident, including ground crew workers had been temporarily decertified for handling munitions.

The activist group Citizens for Legitimate Government said the six members of the US Air Force who were directly involved as loaders or as pilots, were killed within 7 days in 'accidents'.

The victims include Airman First Class Todd Blue, 20, who died while on leave in Virginia. A statement by the military confirmed his death but did not say how he died.

In another accident, a married couple from Barksdale Air Force Base were killed in the 5100 block of Shreveport-Blanchard Highway. The two were riding a 2007 Harley-Davidson motorcycle, with the husband driving and the wife the passenger, police said. "They were traveling behind a northbound Pontiac Aztec driven by Erica Jerry, 35, of Shreveport," the county sheriff said. " Jerry initiated a left turn into a business parking lot at the same time the man driving the motorcycle attempted to pass her van on the left in a no passing zone. They collided."

Adam Barrs, a 20-year-old airman from Minot Air Force Base was killed in a crash on the outskirts of the city.

First Lt. Weston Kissel, 28, a Minot Air Force Base bomber pilot, was killed in a motorcycle crash in Tennessee, the military officials say.

Police found the body of a missing Air Force captain John Frueh near Badger Peak in northeast Skamania County, Washington.

The Activist group says the mysterious deaths of the air force members could indicate to a conspiracy to cover up the truth about the Minot Air Base incident.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Another Soldier Known for Writings On War Dies in Iraq

By E&P Staff
Published: September 21, 2007 11:20 AM ET

NEW YORK Earlier this month, two of seven soldiers who had penned an Op-Ed for The New York Times that expressed skepticism about the war in Iraq were killed in a vehicle accident there.

Now another soldier whose writings on the war, but with a more pro-war view, were widely circulated has died in another non-combat related incident. He is Sgt. Edmund "Eddie" Jeffers.

He died on Wednesday in Taqqadum of injuries suffered from an unspecified accident that is under investigation, the Army said.

Jeffers, 23, was in the 2nd Infantry Division’s 1st Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team. This was his second tour of duty in Iraq.He wrote an essay, "Hope Rides Alone," backing the war in February for the conservative Free Republic web site that gained wide notice.

He suggested that the American public was ungrateful. “America has lost its will to fight," he wrote. “It has lost its will to defend what is right and just in the world...Let’s stop all the political nonsense, let’s stop bickering, let’s stop all the bad news and let’s stand and fight! Isn’t that what America is about anyway?”

He also wrote: "I am stressed, I am scared, and I am paranoid...because death is everywhere. It waits for me, it calls to me from around street corners and windows, and it is always there. There are the demons that follow me, and tempt me into thoughts and actions that are not my own...but that are necessary for survival.

"I've made compromises with my humanity. And I am not alone in this."He added that the memory of soldiers' ultimate sacrifice "is tainted by the inconsiderate remarks on our nation's news outlets."

Jeffers' MySpace page carries a message from his wife, Stephanie, apparently written just after she learned he had died: “Baby . . . always know that I love you, that you will always be my heart, that you will always be my soul. I still can’t believe this, please tell me it’s not true my love.”

Last month she had written this message for his MySpace page: "I miss you and love you sweetheart! Come home already!"

In 'Elah,' war's casualties are found beyond the battlefields

By Norma Meyer


September 21, 2007

Their only son's skeletal remains were housed in a cardboard box and tagged as prosecution evidence for more than three years. Finally this spring, in a cemetery in California's high desert, Vietnam vet Lanny Davis and his retired Army medic wife, Remy, laid to rest the bone fragments etched with stab marks from a knife.

To read the rest of the article, click here

Monday, September 17, 2007

Father Investigates Son's Non-combat Death

TOPEKA, Kan. — It has been seven weeks since his son died in Iraq, and David Finch is still trying to find out what happened.

Kansas Army National Guard Sgt. Courtney D. Finch, 27, of Leavenworth, died July 24 of unknown causes. The Department of Defense reported only that Finch died of “injuries sustained from a noncombat-related incident.”

Finch’s father, David Finch, said he was told he would receive a cause of death within six weeks. Seven weeks later, he is upset at what he sees as the slow progress.

“What’s the holdup?” he said. “I’ve had no word from anyone.”

Sharon Watson, spokeswoman for the Kansas National Guard, said she couldn’t comment because the military is still investigating the death. She also said there’s no word on when a cause of death might be determined.

Meanwhile, David Finch has hired a private investigator and has started calling his son’s fellow soldiers.

People who were close to Courtney Finch say he was found dead in his room. They also say his death was a surprise.

“All my indications were that he was fine,” Maj. Paul Gonzales, Finch’s company commander in Iraq, said.

David Finch said he has learned that after returning from patrol on July 24, members of his son’s platoon each took two IVs of saline solution and drank a gallon of water. Finch said he also has heard that his son hadn’t urinated in the two days before his death.

“His kidneys were probably shutting down and you don’t force IVs to someone like that,” Finch said.

Gonzales said he didn’t know anything about the IVs, but that it wasn’t uncommon for soldiers to use them after spending time inside a Humvee, where temperatures can reach 140 degrees.

Sgt. 1st Class Bill Witzke, another soldier in Courtney Finch’s company, said Finch had been sick with the flu, but he didn’t know anything about Finch’s lack of urination or the IVs.

Finch was a member of the guard’s 714th Security Force in Topeka. He had more than six years of military service and previously had served in Kosovo and the Baklans.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Deepcut families press MoD to cover legal bills for inquests into non-combat deaths

By John Bynorth

Pressure group meeting with defence secretary to discuss ‘counsel parity’

THE FAMILIES of service personnel killed in non-combat incidents have stepped up a campaign for the Ministry of Defence to cover the legal costs for subsequent inquests.

A group representing 40 families, which includes the parents of two soldiers who died mysteriously at the Deepcut barracks, will discuss the issue with Derek Twigg, the under-secretary of state for defence, on October 17.

The Deepcut & Beyond group, whose spokesman Geoff Gray lost his 17-year-old son - also called Geoff - in an unexplained shooting at the Surrey base where three other recruits died, are demanding families have "parity" with the MoD's often expensively assembled defence counsel at the hearings.

Some families have had to take out loans to cover the costs of hiring a barrister, which can amount to £600 a day.

Twigg took over from Harriet Harman in Prime Minister Gordon Brown's first Cabinet. Campaigners claimed she had been "sympathetic" to the proposal at an earlier meeting with the group.

Over the past 10 years almost 2000 personnel have died in non-combat situations, which range from road accidents to training field incidents and have involved firearms in 200 cases. Families are unhappy that the MoD provides them with paid legal representation only in "exceptional" circumstances.

Gray, from Seaham, County Durham, told the Sunday Herald that the MoD should provide a barrister to allow families to be properly represented. "I was told that I didn't need any representation at my son's inquest, but I was handed three huge files when I arrived and was soon out of my depth," he said.

"I split the papers between myself, my wife and my father to read. It was only then I found out people had been seen running away from the scene of my son's death. If I had a legal team, I could have had all that information weeks before the inquest so they could track down the witnesses and bring them to the hearing.

"It was a farce. We might have got a lot closer to the truth about my son's death had we had legal representation. I want some kind of rule brought in where families who have lost loved ones are represented in the same way as the MoD."

Terry Pears, 63, was left £12,000 in debt after hiring a barrister to handle the inquest into the death of his son Jason, who was crushed by an armoured vehicle in Paderborn, Germany in 2002. His counsel, William Bache QC, uncovered crucial evidence through cross-examination of witnesses that helped returned a verdict of unlawful killing through gross negligence against the army.

The hearings - which were often adjourned, adding to the costs - heard evidence of serious health and safety breaches at the tank's base, and that Corporal Pears, 31, who served in the Light Infantry Regiment, had pushed another man out of the way of a tank.

Bache also challenged suggestions that Pears, from Weston-Super-Mare, had been drunk before his death, when an expert said that "moderately high levels" of alcohol in his body may have come to light after his blood sample was contaminated with bacteria.

His father, who lives in Erith, Kent, said: "I got absolutely nothing from the army in terms of legal support for the case. In fact, they tried to bleed me dry by continually cancelling the inquests. The army provides representation to those soldiers responsible for deaths such as my son's, but the families have to hire their own lawyers.

"Although they were found guilty of gross negligence, nobody was charged with my son's death. I am very bitter, but I have no regrets about spending that amount of money fighting the case."

Yvonne and Jim Collinson, from Perth, who are awaiting the results of an army Board of Inquiry held into their son James's death from a single gunshot wound at Deepcut in 2003, were provided with an MoD barrister because of the case's "exceptional circumstances".

Jim Collinson, 44, said: "We had to put up a fight to get a barrister, but we know from experience that it's a huge help to have parity with the MoD's counsel."

The MoD refused to comment on the minister's meeting, but a spokesman stressed that families are entitled to apply for legal aid for representation.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

War Critic Dies In Iraq, Mom Wants Answers

War Critic Dies In Iraq, Mom Wants Answers

Mother Seeks Details Of Soldier's Death Weeks After He Co-Authored Op-Ed Criticizing War

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Two of Seven Soldiers Who Wrote 'NYT' Op-Ed Die in Iraq

Does this have anything to do with murder in the military? I don't know. Draw your own conclusions:

By Greg Mitchell Published: September 12, 2007 7:25 AM ET

NEW YORK The Op-Ed by seven active duty U.S. soldiers in Iraq questioning the war drew international attention just three weeks ago. Now two of the seven are dead.

Sgt. Omar Mora and Sgt. Yance T. Gray died Monday in a vehicle accident in western Baghdad, two of seven U.S. troops killed in the incident which was reported just as Gen. David Petraeus was about to report to Congress on progress in the "surge."

The names have just been released.

Gen. Petraeus was questioned about the message of the op-ed in testimony before a Senate committee yesterday.

The controversial Times column on Aug. 19 was called "The War As We Saw It," and expressed skepticism about American gains in Iraq.

“To believe that Americans, with an occupying force that long ago outlived its reluctant welcome, can win over a recalcitrant local population and win this counterinsurgency is far-fetched,” the group wrote.

It closed: "We need not talk about our morale. As committed soldiers, we will see this mission through."

Mora, 28, hailed from Texas City, Texas, and was a native of Ecuador, who had just become a U.S. citizen. He was due to leave Iraq in November and leaves behind a wife and daughter.

Gray, 26, had lived in Ismay, Montana, and is also survived by a wife and infant daughter.

The accident in Iraq occurred when a cargo truck the men were riding in overturned.

The Daily News in Galveston interviewed Mora's mother, who confirmed his death and that he was one of the co-authors of the Times piece.

The article today relates: "Olga Capetillo said that by the time Mora submitted the editorial, he had grown increasingly depressed. 'I told him God is going to take care of him and take him home,' she said. 'But yesterday is the darkest day for me.'”

One of the other five authors of the Times piece, Staff Sergeant Jeremy Murphy, an Army Ranger and reconnaissance team leader, was shot in the head while the article was being written. He was expected to survive after being flown to a military hospital in the United States.

***Related:Deaths of Soldiers 'Brings It Home' For 'NYT' Editorial Page Editor
Greg Mitchell ( is editor. A collection of his columns on Iraq and the media will be published by Union Square Press in March.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

What Ever Happened to Freedom of Information?

Family members who are busily making FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) requests for information about their loved ones' deaths, may have noticed that they are getting a lot of automatic denials. When material is finally supplied, it is often so heavily redacted that you can hardly make sense of it.

The US armed services are all Federal agencies, so FOIA is the proper way to request information.

Ruth Rosen has written a very informative article about how the current Administration has managed to restrict the Freedom of Information Act in ways that affect each and every citizen with a "right to know" from obtaining information.

Click on the following link to read the article:
What Ever Happened to Freedom of Information?

Here are some excerpts:

From my little cubicle at the paper, I read a memorandum sent by Attorney General John Ashcroft to all federal agencies. Short and to the point, it basically gave them permission to resist FOIA requests and assured them that the Justice Department would back up their refusals. “When you carefully consider FOIA requests,” Ashcroft wrote, “and decide to withhold records, in whole or in part, you can be assured that the Department of Justice will defend your decision unless they lack a sound legal basis or present an unwarranted risk of adverse impact on the ability of other agencies to protect other important records.”

On August 8, 2007, the Coalition of Journalists for Open Government issued “Still Waiting After All These Years,” a damning report that documented the Ashcroft memorandum’s impact on FOIA responses. Their analysis revealed that “the number of FOIA requests processed has fallen 20%, the number of FOIA personnel is down 10%, the backlog has tripled and the cost of handling a request is up 79%.” During the same years, the Bush administration embarked on a major effort to label ever more government documents classified. They even worked at reclassifying documents that had long before been made public, ensuring that ever less information would be available through FOIA requests. And what material they did send out was often so heavily redacted as to be meaningless.

This explains a lot!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Local Papers Get Grim Details on 'Non-Combat' Deaths

By Greg Mitchell
Published: September 07, 2007 12:55 PM ET

NEW YORK As often the case, the U.S. military has listed several of the deaths in the past week in Iraq as “non-combat related,” adding, as it always does, that they are “under investigation.”

Major newspapers usually leave it at that. But much smaller papers near where the soldier once lived often obtain details from family members that suggest a likely cause of death, sometimes friendly fire, other times, suicide.

The latter appears to be the case with a Nevada man who died on August 30 – and his family appears angry that he was ordered to the combat zone to begin with.

Army Specialist Travis M. Virgadamo, 19, died in Taji, Iraq, last Thursday. The local paper, the Pahrum Valley Times, reports today, “The soldiers who notified Vergadamo's family about his death reportedly said he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.”

It quotes his grandmother, Katie O’Brien, saying, “I don't know what happened, and I may never know what happened.”

Then the story adds: “One thing of which she is certain, however, is that Virgadamo was not in any condition to be sent to a war zone, where he transported ammunition.”

Recent reports have noted an upsurge in suicides in Iraq, with the total for the war over 120 at the minimum.O'Brien said he was having psychiatric problems known to the Army when it sent him back into combat.

He had already exhibited “emotional issues” in training, O'Brien said, and was sent to anger management therapy.

“While on his last leave in July, O'Brien said Virgadamo told her he had been seeing a psychiatrist and a therapist while in Baghdad and Kuwait and was put on Prozac,” the story continues.

O’Brien added: "They sent him back even though they knew he was having issues and was not stable and was not military material.”

When he visited her last July, "He was just scared. He'd had some really close calls before he came home and was talking about going AWOL [absent without leave]."

O'Brien said she "threw a fit" when she learned he was on Prozac and told him to ask to have his medication switched when he returned to Iraq.

His mother, Jackie Juliano of Pahrump, and O'Brien "raised Virgadamo together here after his mother and father divorced," the story concluded.

Other local papers have revealed in the past three weeks, among other non-combat fatalities, the death by friendly fire of a Texas soldier, Kamisha Block, and the suicide in California of a returning Iraq vet, John Fish.

Army specialist John Fish III was training at Fort Bliss, Texas, when he missed morning roll call, leading to a search spanning two states. His body was found in the desert, death caused by a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. He had joined the Army when he turned 17 and was sent to Iraq as soon as he turned 18.

"Three weeks ago I was hugging a happy loving wonderful son. And now as you can see ... I've got pictures," said his mom Cathy Fish, in a KSBY-TV (California) report.

"He wrote, 'Why them and not me? What makes me so special?' And he felt bad.

He said, 'What was I doing that was so important that I couldn't be there to save all them?'" explained his mother.

"He did express living in pain. He had a lot of turmoil sometimes, and a lot of pain.""He said that he felt responsible for the deaths of the different soldiers that were in Iraq," explained a stepsister in the same report.

A memorial service is planned for Saturday at Camp Roberts.

A memorial fund has been set up to assist the Fish family. You can donate to the John Fish Memorial Fund at any Mid-State Bank.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Trainers faulted in soldier's death

He had phoned for help during Fort Hood exercise in June heat

07:37 AM CDT on Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Associated Press

FORT HOOD, Texas – Army Sgt. Lawrence Sprader set out under the searing Texas sun on a map-reading exercise, carrying a cellphone in case he got hopelessly lost or fell ill in the hills and ravines of Fort Hood. And still he didn't make it out alive.

For more than an hour on June 8, a disoriented and dehydrated Sgt. Sprader used his phone to repeatedly call superiors and tell them of his plight. The 24-year-old Iraq war veteran's decomposing body was discovered four days later in the thick underbrush.

A 1,700-page Army investigative report, obtained by The Associated Press through the Freedom of Information Act, details a multitude of procedural violations, judgment errors and alleged acts of misconduct by Army trainers that not only contributed to Sgt. Sprader's death but also put 300 other soldiers in danger that day, including about two dozen who required medical attention for heat-related illnesses.

Army officials last week announced they have suspended the officers in charge of the leadership-training academy that ran the exercise. Their lawyer said seven soldiers were reprimanded and another was demoted for lying about the timing of his last phone communication with Sgt. Sprader. They could face criminal charges.

John P. Galligan, their lawyer, said the Army is trying to make scapegoats out of them. "This is a tragic accident," he said.

Sgt. Sprader disappeared in a rugged, 1.5-square-mile expanse of scrub, tall grasses and cedar and juniper trees.

Exactly how many calls he made is not specified in the report, but his father, Larry Sprader of Prince George, Va., said there were 16 – about half outgoing, half incoming. Mr. Sprader said the last seven were incoming.

Many were one-minute calls; according to the report, calls are frequently dropped in the remote area. The report indicates that Sgt. Sprader talked to someone at least twice and that he said he could hear a vehicle's horn.

Typically, lost soldiers are rescued by trainers who honk their horns and rely on the trainees to listen for the sound and guide them in the right direction.

The exercise had been moved up from 1 p.m. because of the heat and, as a result, the soldiers were rushed through a lunch break. Investigators believe Sgt. Sprader did not have a chance to refill his two one-quart canteens before being sent out on the timed exercise.

Temperatures were in the low to mid-90s, and the heat index – the combined effect of heat and humidity – was measured at Category 5, the highest possible, at 11 a.m. at a nearby airport. Some soldiers were overcome by heat before the exercise even began.

Sgt. Sprader made his first call at 2:08 p.m., and not long after, three people went looking for him in a vehicle, according to the report. But the Army did not begin to mount a larger search until about 3:30 p.m., after the exercise was over and he was the only person still missing.

Training leaders are required to notify their superiors within an hour after a soldier is lost. But investigators said that wasn't done until about 6 p.m.

The soldier demoted for lying told investigators that Sgt. Sprader called at 3:15 and 4:45 p.m., but Sgt. Sprader's cellphone records show the last outgoing call at 2:56 and the last incoming call at 3:08, which went unanswered.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

US Refuses All ‘Friendly Fire’ Inquest Requests

Published on Wednesday, August 29, 2007 by the Telegraph/UK

by Joshua Rozenberg

Inquests into “friendly fire” cases will never hear evidence in person from US military witnesses, the Ministry of Defence has disclosed.

It is thought that the Pentagon fears that US troops suspected of negligently killing British service personnel may be arrested for manslaughter if they set foot in Britain.

One coroner said yesterday that he was “surprised and outraged” that Britain was not challenging a blanket ban by the US on providing witnesses.

“So much for the ’special relationship’ between the US and UK governments,” he added.

This anger, which is shared by other coroners, follows criticism of the MoD and its US counterpart by Andrew Walker, the coroner who found in March that L/Cpl Matty Hull, a Household Cavalryman, was unlawfully killed by US fighter pilots in Iraq in 2003.

Last week, three soldiers were killed in a similar incident after an American fighter accidentally dropped a bomb on them during heavy fighting in Afghanistan.

The absolute nature of the US ban was revealed in an unpublished letter from Desmond Bowen, policy director at the Ministry of Defence.

Mr Bowen said the MoD “would prefer not to make continued requests for witnesses from the US when the response is already a foregone conclusion”.

In his letter, distributed to coroners by the Ministry of Justice, Mr Bowen explained: “The US have confirmed categorically that they will not provide witnesses to attend UK inquests in person. While coroners may continue to ask for US witnesses to attend inquests in the UK, they should be aware that there will in all cases be a refusal.”

As an alternative, Mr Bowen says the MoD would be happy to consider any timely request for an appropriate British witness, “subject to the limitations of relevant experience, availability and any security considerations”.

The US will continue to provide written reports to families, but these will be edited to remove classified information and the names of those involved. But coroners said that this would not be enough to satisfy the families of British troops killed in friendly fire incidents.

Mr Bowen outlined revised working arrangements where there was “US connection” in the deaths of British service personnel.

He explained that although the US would provide information to British military investigators, that information would have to be returned to the US authorities when the investigation was completed.

Coroners could subsequently request access to this material, but they should allow “some weeks” for the US to consider whether it could be released.

© Copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited 2007.