Speaking in the House of Commons today, Defence Minister Adam Ingram informed MPs that the photographs purporting to show British military personnel mistreating detainees in Iraq were:
|"categorically not taken in Iraq.
"I can also tell the House this is not only the opinion of the special investigations' branch investigators - it has been independently corroborated.
"The truck in which the photos were taken was never in Iraq.
"Those involved may have committed criminal offences under military law which are the proper subject of on-going investigations by the RMP."
The editor of the Daily Mirror has said:
|"the pictures accurately illustrated the reality about the appalling conduct of some British troops."|
- which seems somewhat weasle-worded, to say the least.
If there is truth in the allegations, however, that mistreatment did occur under British jurisdiction, irrespective of the veracity or otherwise of these photographs, then this must obviously be investigated - which we are told is happening. Until such time as a report on these investigations comes to hand then I will suspend judgement. We have already been assured by the government that action has been taken to correct the deficiencies found by the ICRC and one must hope that deviations do not recur; it is not a justification, and I am thankful that no British minister has implied this, to contemplate modifying the standards British personnel must observe with regard to what others (whether our adversaries or our Coalition partners) may be doing.