Father of soldier murdered in Iraq blasts Government for hounding troops but

first_imgThe father of a soldier murdered by an Iraqi mob has accused the Government of “rank double standards” for hounding troops over alleged abuses while failing to pursue the insurgents who killed his son.Reg Keys said ministers had “all but given up” tracking down seven men who had been identified over the murders of six military policemen – known as “Redcaps” – in June 2003.Lance Corporal Tom Keys, 20, and five comrades were ambushed by a 500-strong mob and executed as they guarded a police station in one of the most notorious incidents of the Iraq conflict. It prompted Mr Keys to campaign to hold the Government to account, eventually standing against Tony Blair in the 2005 election. The call to scrap the Iraq and Afghanistan criminal investigations has been lent further support from mothers of soldiers killed in the conflicts.Carol Valentine, whose son Simon, 29, a sergeant, was killed by a bomb in Afghanistan, has launched a petition, with four others, to have Ihat and Operation Northmoor shut down.An MoD spokesman said: “We understand the continuing anguish suffered by families of the six military policemen who were murdered in Iraq in 2003. The MOD has gone to very great lengths to investigate the circumstances of these murders, to bring the insurgents responsible to justice, and to learn lessons and to minimise the risk of recurrence.”  Lance Corporal Tom Keys It just beggars belief that the Government is spending millions while there are murderers of Britons walking free in Iraq.Reg Keys Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Reg Keys with a photo of his son Tom John and Marilyn Miller, the parents of Corporal Simon Miller, 21, one of the others killed at Majar al-Kabir, have also complained of having no justice for their son’s death while British soldiers were being investigated by the Iraq Historic Allegations Team (Ihat) and Operation Northmoor, which is looking at alleged abuses in Afghanistan. “I’m disgusted and outraged at the number of allegations against British troops in Iraq,” said Mr Miller, 64. “What is even worse is that there is no reciprocation for the brutal murder of my son and his five Royal Military Police comrades. If this isn’t the ultimate betrayal, then nothing is.”After a request under the Freedom of Information Act, Mr Miller obtained witness statements taken shortly after the Red Caps were killed in June 2003.  These show that local police gave a list of nine suspects to the Ministry of Defence.The documents disclose that 16 witnesses described what happened on the day, including graphic details of how insurgents armed with AK-47 assault rifles fired at the police station where the British soldiers were and shouted “kill them”. Reg Keys with a photo of his son TomCredit:ANDREW PRICE/REX Despite this, not one Iraqi has been held responsible for the slaughter. The MoD has released the witness statements – but the suspects’ names have been redacted. The Millers, who live in Washington, Tyne and Wear, have said it is “absolute nonsense” that they were not able to know the names of the suspects, nor of the interpreter who was with their son at the time so they could speak to him.“They keep telling us it is for data protection reasons and that they don’t want to jeopardise any court case in Iraq,” Mr Miller said.  “It is absolute nonsense. They don’t want us to know because they don’t want to do anything about it. I want to know who killed my son. I want to be able to use those names to fight for justice. I want to see the Iraqis investigated like we are investigating our guys.”After the murders, it emerged that the Redcaps had been sent lightly armed and unprepared into an area known to be dangerous, and left without proper communication or back-up. Their grieving parents have faced a string of legal hurdles in getting to the truth. Earlier this year, they were blocked from finding out the names of their sons’ alleged killers because of “data protection”.Mr Keys, 54, said: “It just beggars belief that the Government is spending millions while there are murderers of Britons walking free in Iraq.“A coroner delivered an explicitly clear unlawful killing verdict and this Government have not given a damn.“Jack Straw stood up after they died and vowed to bring these killers to justice. It’s a betrayal that the only people now facing criminal inquiries are our own men and women sacrificed to an unjust war.”He added:  “It sends a signal that you can kill a soldier with impunity whereas the other way around any soldier caught out committing even just a common assault, they will come down on like a ton of bricks. It’s like it’s open season to kill a British soldier and nobody goes after you.” Lance Corporal Tom Keyslast_img read more

Nasa cancels satellite launch with just 46 seconds to go

first_img The #OCO2 countdown has entered a planned 20-minute hold at T-15 minutes. We’re on schedule!    #EarthRightNow pic.twitter.com/UePZs8v6oF— NASA (@NASA) July 1, 2014 Source: NASA/Twitter NASA HAD TO cancel plans to launch a new satellite into space today to measure the effects of climate change on Earth.The spacecraft was due to launch at 5.56am (10.56am GMT) today from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. However the launched was cancelled with just 46 seconds to go.Nasa said that there was a failure in the launch pad water flow. There had been a window of just 30 seconds where the satellite would be able to  launch.The launch will instead take place later this week.The Orbiting Carbon Observatory is Nasa’s first spacecraft dedicated solely to making observations of atmospheric carbon dioxide from space.Nasa said it will provide the first complete picture of the effects of climate change in different continents and the seasonal variations.“Now that humans are acknowledging the environmental effects of our dependence on fossil fuels and other carbon dioxide-emitting activities, our goal is to analyse the sources and sinks of this carbon dioxide and find better ways to manage it,” said Gregg Marland, a professor in the geology department of Appalachian Statecenter_img Its mission will last two years at a total cost of $467 million (around €340 million).The floating observatory will fly at around 705 kilometres above Earth, completing an orbit every 98.8 minutes. It will take 24 measurements every second, which will work out at about a million per day.Read: Nasa’s flying saucer tests new Mars-landing technology > Read: Ever wonder what lightning on Earth looks like from space?  >last_img read more