Last week’s BBC Panorama programme “SAS Death Squads Exposed” raised some serious questions about the exploits of Britain’s elite special forces in Afghanistan in 2010-11.

Apparently some four years in the making, the programme took a measured and appropriately inquisitive look at how Britain’s best-known special forces outfit operated and how it might have transgressed the normal laws of war during that conflict.


This article is the opinion of the author and not necessarily that of the UK Defence Journal. If you would like to submit your own article on this topic or any other, please see our submission guidelines.


Predictably it has led to an outburst of spluttering from the usual Bufton-Tuftons who spend most of their days in the leather armchairs of various London clubs, whose consensus view seems to be that it is an outrage that the reputation of Britain’s elite warriors has been smeared in this way.

On the other side of the fence, various leftie journalists and commentators have already called for the immediate disbandment of the SAS and the arrest and trial of all those allegedly involved in the killings.

I am in neither camp but somewhere in-between. However, I do agree with the band of assorted senior retired military officers that the allegations are serious enough to warrant some sort of independent inquiry. And by independent I mean truly independent; the Royal Military Police, God bless’em, come under the army chain of command and cannot be described as independent by any stretch of the imagination.

No, it needs to be carried out by someone or some organisation with no military links whatsoever. The favourite tabloid phrase “judge-led” springs to mind.

But let’s look at the allegations which have been made. Briefly, the Panorama programme suggested that the SAS, and their little brothers the SBS, were basically a law unto themselves in Afghanistan, operating outside the in-theatre chain of command. The most serious charge is that they summarily executed unarmed Afghan boys and men of fighting age, some of whom had already been restrained and rendered helpless, in some macabre competition between units over who could achieve the highest number of kills.

To compound matters, it is claimed that they then planted weapons on the dead to justify their actions.

If proven, such charges are quite clearly illegal and totally at variance with the laws of armed conflict, and the perpetrators are essentially war criminals who should face justice. The question then arises as to how this could happen. How could a disciplined military unit “go rogue” like this and become an outlier in the British military?

There may be several reasons for this.

The SAS was a relatively obscure and unheralded outfit until they burst into the public conscience at the Iranian Embassy siege in London in 1980. Their famous assault, abseiling from the roof and blowing out window frames, was carried on live television to an incredulous audience and became one of the defining moments of both Margaret Thatcher’s Premiership and British military history.

The unit was lionised by the media and politicians alike and became globally famous. Through this and subsequent actions the unit developed a guid’ conceit o’ itsel’, much of it undoubtedly deserved. As an officially sanctioned “elite” organisation, senioro fficers became wary of interfering with their modus operandi and became increasingly hands-off, maybe too much hands-off. The SAS famously has a relaxed attitude to such things as rank and dress, both staples of most armies’ ethos, but in their case it perhaps was allowed to go too far and morphed into a kind of canteen culture where the tail began to wag the dog?

As the old army adage has it, there are no bad regiments just bad commanding officers. Time and again when discussing the Panorama report with my ex-military friends the same question is asked; what were the officers doing during all of this?

The commanding officer usually sets the tone and culture for the regiment he commands, and this is followed by his junior officers right down to the lowest level and sets the tone of the whole regiment.

How, therefore, might this have gone so badly wrong in one squadron (at least) of the SAS in Afghanistan in 2010-11? The answer might be that the leadership was weak and the canteen culture flourished. And the junior officers, who one would expect to intervene when it appeared that things were not quite right, may have come to regard themselves as more “one of the lads” than representatives of authority, and just rolled over and let their men get on with it.

To be clear, this is all conjecture, but there may be an element of truth in it. The worst result, though, is that the British Army may have lost the moral high ground in its defence of British interests and betrayed the values and standards which we should hold dear. Look what happened to the Americans when details of extraordinary rendition, black sites, and Guantanamo Bay emerged.

They lost the moral high ground comprehensively and have struggled to regain it ever since. When you lose the moral high ground you have lost the war.

In Andy McNab’s book Bravo Two Zero, his account of the disastrous insertion of an SAS patrol into Iraq in the first Gulf War, he recounts how at one point they were discovered in their hiding place by a shepherd boy. The militarily sensible thing to have done would have been to eliminate the threat, but after discussion he and his fellows decided that they were the SAS, not the SS, and the boy lived and went free.

Would the squadron in Afghanistan have come to same conclusion? We need a full and independent inquiry into the allegations made in the Panorama programme so that either the Regiment can clear its name or the criminals in its ranks can be brought to justice.

This article by Stuart Crawford first appeared in The Scotsman and has been reproduced here with permission.

Stuart Crawford was a regular officer in the Royal Tank Regiment for twenty years, retiring in the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 1999. Crawford attended both the British and US staff colleges and undertook a Defence Fellowship at Glasgow University. He now works as a political, defence and security consultant and is a regular commentator on military and defence topics in print, broadcast and online media.
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farouk
farouk
11 days ago

The Panorama program revolved around what the Australian SAS was caught on camera doing and used the testimony of people over watched by (as in actually having) a Taliban minder resulting in the BBC coming to the conclusion that if the Aussi SAS did, then so much have the British one. Yup guilt by name association. The incidents in question have already been investigated twice by the SIB and yet and a big yet the BBC felt this story needed to be aired. Dont get me wrong I fully believe that nobody is above the law and that wrong doings… Read more »

Last edited 11 days ago by farouk
Sean the real Sean
Sean the real Sean
10 days ago
Reply to  farouk

Australian SAS are made up of the remnants of Rhodesian and UK Armies , they are not representative of the Australian Army , and far too independent to ever listen or follow the chain of command . The Blackhawk Helicopter was not allowed to to be retired because they refused the NH90 and would not be persuaded until full revelation of what they were up to cut them off at the knees. if it was up to me I would disband them all together .

mikee
mikee
10 days ago

What a strange assessment! The NH90 was not up to the task. The German and Norwegian military have found that they have the same problems with the NH90 as the Australian military and are either getting rid of them or not accepting them. The Germans have ordered Chinooks and the Australians additional Blackhawks. Your Australian SAS description is decades out of date.

Ngatimozart
Ngatimozart
9 days ago
Reply to  mikee

The reason that the Germans and Norwegians are getting rid of the NH90 is the very poor delivery, service and support from Airbus Defence. Parts deliveries by Airbus Military are very unreliable at best. The Australian MRH90 problems are 70% of their own making. They are the only NH90 users who demanded that they assemble the aircraft in their own country. They were impatient and assembled all of the aircraft before many of the basic problems had been solved, so their aircraft took an exceedingly long time to reach IOC, then required significant updating. They didn’t even bother to order… Read more »

Mark Forsyth
Mark Forsyth
8 days ago
Reply to  Ngatimozart

I remember discussing this with NZ Procurement guys when I was delivering a project to them. IIRC the cost of spares was so expensive they ordered 9 aircraft, and asked for the first 8 to be built and the last one put into crates, or something along those lines.

Ngatimozart
Ngatimozart
8 days ago
Reply to  Mark Forsyth

Yep it arrived in crates on an AN-124 flight. Because NHI were so late in delivering the aircraft, they had to pay for the shipment of all nine to NZ and they were airfreighted out by AN-124. I heard that it cost about $20 million per trip and from memory there were four flights. I didn’t realise that the spares were so expensive, but then that wouldn’t surprise me either.

Mark Forsyth
Mark Forsyth
8 days ago
Reply to  Ngatimozart

We were actually offered space on the last “flight” out of the south of France. Was a pretty hectic couple of weeks getting stuff corralled in Vienna and then asking my German and Austrian colleagues to arrange transport etc, all whilst I was sat in Canberra. Happy days. Re Spares, we use the adage “A penny in production, a pound for after-sales, and a tenner supplying as a spare. There is some sense in that obviously, as for production, the company will make/ be supplied with items in bulk, with limited packaging etc. Once it becomes a spare, it needs… Read more »

Last edited 8 days ago by Mark Forsyth
Simon
Simon
8 days ago

Rhodesian ? Rhodesia ceased to exist in 1979?

Richard Graham
Richard Graham
7 days ago

The Rhodesian Security Forces were disbanded in 1980. I find it very hard to believe there would be any remnants or otherwise serving over 40 years later – particularly in any special forces capacity. The youngest would be in their 60s…

John Stott
John Stott
7 days ago

Those Rhodesians are all in their 60’s and over now chum. Nice to see there is life in the old dogs if the Australian Army still has them in the ranks lol!

Nathan
Nathan
11 days ago

I don’t tend to watch the media. I don’t trust it one dot. Even if the accusations have truth to them, I don’t believe the BBC is intellectually able to present or interpret the evidence in a responsible fashion on account of its priori political and philosophical commitments. This horrible institution has a distinct bias and has been inculcating its value system into the British public for many decades. I’d argue that our divided, superficial and angry culture; obsessed with material self-gratification and increasingly prone to violence and sex crimes (a truth British growth story) come from this outfit’s decades… Read more »

Damo
Damo
10 days ago
Reply to  Nathan

😂😂😂😂

Something Different
Something Different
9 days ago
Reply to  Nathan

I’m not going to comment on this particular case. However, if similar allegations in another unit where substantiated by an independent legal investigation what do you think should happen?

Nathan
Nathan
8 days ago

Key terms: independent legal investigation.

Jon
Jon
11 days ago

Perhaps the judge-led enquiry should be one of defamation against Panorama. The truth is a defence against such charges and there’s a balance in favour of the freedom of the press: “A statement is not defamatory unless its publication has caused or is likely to cause serious harm to the reputation of the claimant.” I’d have thought the accusation clearly meets that theshold. If Panorama programme makers have failed to meet the standards of responsible journalists, they should pay with their own reputation. If, on the other hand, evdence is brought forward to subtantiate the claims, that’s when the focus… Read more »

Ian
Ian
7 days ago
Reply to  Jon

Jon…… how did Panorama do with Lady Diana…..the BBC are not trust worthy and should be defunded…too many people being paid too much money..

Richard Graham
Richard Graham
7 days ago
Reply to  Jon

Yes I agree. These defamatory programme makers seem to be able to make claims and then simply hide under the cover of freedom of the press walking away unscathed once the truth comes out.

They take no responsibility for their actions – whether its Bashir case, or causing a national fuel shortage for weeks by making up stories that induced panic buying, or unbalanced reporting including ignoring stories of equal magnitude because it suits their political agenda.

Expat
Expat
11 days ago

It strikes me that after 4 years they felt they just had to put something together in an attempt to justify their efforts and time. I haven’t watched the program but was anything concrete presented from a 4 year investigation by the BBC? Normally you expect the reporting organisation to hand over documents and evidence to authorities, has anything new been handed over?

It does appear the from the BBC headline below the BBC have decided without trial the SAS is guilty.

SAS unit repeatedly killed Afghan detainees, BBC finds

Dickie D
Dickie D
9 days ago
Reply to  Expat

The consensus on this post seems to be that if individual SAS soldiers executed prisoners they should face the consequences – a view I wholeheartedly agree with. However, the issue I have with this story is twofold. Firstly a previous commentator has stated these allegations have already been investigated twice with the verdict of no case to answer. My second concern is where the allegations have originated from – the Biased Broadcasting Corporation, an organisation has very recently had to pay ‘substantial’ damages for peddling lies about a former nanny employed by Diana and Charles . Clearly a case of… Read more »

Jacko
Jacko
11 days ago

Is this a case of a green army officer jumping on the anti special forces agenda?
After all they do exist!

peter fernch
peter fernch
8 days ago
Reply to  Jacko

YES

bill masen
bill masen
11 days ago

Pretty certain there has already been three or four investigations into this story, all found the UKSF innocent. I saw NO solid, clear evidence just lots of hear say, unconfirmed reports and other nonsense. And unless you are EX UKSF I think opinion is just that.

Bringer of Facts
Bringer of Facts
11 days ago

It makes my blood boil. Our governments send our young men and women into battle against ruthless enemies (who are accountable to no one) and yet our troops are left prone to being sued and prosecuted on some dodgy hearsay or vexatious lies.

John Hartley
John Hartley
10 days ago

An old Army colonel friend of mine( sadly no longer with us), who led his tanks into Hamburg at the end of WW2, said he used to phrases he got from his housemaster. “Are you sure?” & “is this Wise?” I had to turn off the program as I was furious with the BBC for being driven around Afghanistan with an armed Taliban escort. How is that impartial? Why will the massively overpaid middle class communists always believe Britain’s enemies, but never our own troops? What will another multi year hounding of our troops achieve, other than making lawyers rich… Read more »

AlexS
AlexS
10 days ago
Reply to  John Hartley

Why will the massively overpaid middle class communists always believe Britain’s enemies, but never our own troops?

Why the surprise, it do not matter for them if they believe or not, it is a wedge they can use. . They are neo-marxist so messianic , they obviously want to eliminate the liberal state with its checks and balances and separation of powers. That is all that matters, so they use anything that appears useful.

Do you know that Communist affiliated unions sabotaged British armament industry from 1939 to 1941(until Nazi attack to USSR) ?

AlexS
AlexS
10 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

French Communist Unions did the same, French Communist Party was made illegal in 1939.

Something Different
Something Different
9 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

Funny, lots of ad hominem attacks but not much discussion on the substance of the allegations. Do you think the British military is incapable of such crimes (I won’t comment on the specifics of this alleged case) and if so why?

farouk
farouk
10 days ago
Reply to  John Hartley

The BBC really does go out of its way to promugate fake news about the Miltary. Here is a current story on its UK news twitter site. The image promoted for those who cant be asked to read the article is she is a British soldier when actually the stupid moo is Irish , was a trolly dolly in the Irish defence force and the country which has just jailed her is…Ireland. But for some reason the BBC fails to mention that in the headlien:

Opera Snapshot_2022-07-22_180435_twitter.com.png
PeterS
PeterS
10 days ago
Reply to  John Hartley

Absolutely agree.The politicians who send our forces into ill judged or illegal conflicts avoid all consequences, whilst servicemen are hounded by shyster lawyers and even worse our taxpayer funded broadcaster. Even if mistakes are made, it is quite wrong to apply civilian standards to those in the heat of battle. I was and remain appalled by the treatment of Alexander Blackman, even after his murder conviction was reduced to manslaughter.

Airborne
Airborne
10 days ago

Most of the reports and pictures/videos relate to the Aussie SAS lads! However, in regard to the main point Mr Crawford is making, yes, there is a bit of a “premiership player” type attitude in the vast majority of the lads! This only happens when you have such high number of quality, and in some cases arrogant professional people, all in one organisation vying to be one better. Competition at every level is fierce, from rank/promotion/courses/sports and soldiering. Let’s not kid ourselves the only reason the Reserve SAS Regiments remain is to enable promotion slots, external movements and the ability… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
10 days ago
Reply to  Airborne

Regards 22, shouldn’t it be the job of the long service, permanent cadre NCOs in the regiment to sort this culture out when it surfaces? I understand the ruperts only do 2 or 3? years before RTU so don’t have the experience or “seniority” even if they have the rank? At its most basic level it’s typical BBC again looking to dish dirt on one of our No1 gold plated assets. They were at it over Loughall and also “death on the rock” at Gibraltar, in both cases the bastards had it coming. Interesting that there is some arrogance? I… Read more »

Airborne
Airborne
10 days ago

Mate the officers become Troop Commanders for their first tour and while they have proved themselves as good (if not better than the other lads on selection as while the lads are doing 2 weeks pre-jungle training at PTA, the officers do officers week which is fucking tough and at least 3 or 4 of the handful that passed the hills are chinned off) they are new to the Troop and need to gel quickly! The Troop seniors are the ones who cut about making the calls, as the officers are looking not to rock the boat as most aim… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
10 days ago

As with any part of the army, a Rupert’s posting is generally 2 years, a COs posting typically 2.5 years. But of course the good ones (who are wanted back) come back to serve in the Regiment in a higher rank after a staff job or perhaps time with their original regiment.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
10 days ago
Reply to  Airborne

Hi Airborne, A balanced comment sir. Obviously, I have never served in the armed forces – being disabled. No one who has not experienced combat can imagine the horror of war, the stresses or the fear. It is an extraordinary experience and under such conditions extraordinary things happen. I have no doubt that bad things happen in war for the simple reason that war is an atrocious experience which will, on occassion, result in atrocious responses. On other occassions the result will be extraordainarily selfless responses representing the very best of human behavior. Applying civilian / peacetime standards to combat… Read more »

Airborne
Airborne
10 days ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Mate thanks for the reply and your pretty much correct in what you say! I would direct you to my answer to Daniele in regard to my views! As with every Regiment or organisation a small minority who make a conscious effort to do things the wrong way can ruin it for everyone, and ruin the reputation of many decent professional people and groups! War is shit, it’s hard on occasion to do the right thing, as the right thing at that snapshot moment in time might be right for the mission or the lads, but not be right for… Read more »

Armchair Admiral
Armchair Admiral
10 days ago
Reply to  Airborne

I wonder, if the BBC headquarters were taken over by terrorists, who they would want to rescue them?
I bet it would not be a unit only using politically correct language.
AA

Airborne
Airborne
9 days ago

They’d be the first to expect help and then do a crappy programme later on how bad the SF were!

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
10 days ago
Reply to  Airborne

Yeh, “Humans will always be human…” Never a truer word. As you know I have worked alongside many in the military during my time in defence procurement and I am often critical of some of them in the procurement process. However, I would say that the vast majority of them were very professional, especially when they were providing advice to us civvies trting to work out what the services needed. I even worked with SF briefly and got to visit Stirling Lines on one accassion. Oddly they don’t go around in capes! At the end of the day the armed… Read more »

russ
russ
9 days ago
Reply to  Airborne

Just the same in the police service. Won’t go on but it seemed that everytime something was percieved as wrong it was used as a stick to beat the whole service with. With this experience I take all such stories as biased, or at the very least with a pinch of salt. I have no problem with the BBC -all news outlets do it (See; “heroes one day, demons the next”) and for their own reasons. I would say that the majority of journalists to my knowledge are from more priviliged backgrounds. I would like to see the numbers on… Read more »

russ
russ
9 days ago
Reply to  russ

…and I am aquainted with SAS members….

Airborne
Airborne
8 days ago
Reply to  russ

Agreed mate, as for journos, not many who aren’t middle class upwards make it into the BBC gravy train!

Harry Bulpit
Harry Bulpit
10 days ago
Reply to  Airborne

You clearly have no idea what 21 or 23 SAS do nor the skills that they deliver. They very much have a much more important role and rarely actually work with Herford.

Simon
Simon
9 days ago
Reply to  Harry Bulpit

given his user name “Airborne” I think he might do

Airborne
Airborne
9 days ago
Reply to  Harry Bulpit

Really? Ok! I know them well thanks.

Airborne
Airborne
9 days ago
Reply to  Harry Bulpit

TMs regular 22, 2ics regular 22, Sqn SPSIs regular 22, Sqn PSIs regular 22, RSMs reg 22, RSMIS regular 22, plus a few hangers on, all in all over 28 Officer and SNCO slots for regular 22! In a regiment of around 290 badged, quite a lot hence why 21 and 23 were taken off the SF role a few years back and put onto HUMINT, a decision which DSF argued against and successfully changed back! But, what do I know about 21 and 23! And I won’t mention 473 Bty regular 22 WO2!

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
9 days ago
Reply to  Airborne

I’d read the HAC have a 22 SNCO on secondment too?

I had lunch at 21s lodge at ****** once. Some fine chaps. The friend who invited me was on the SASRA, ex 21 himself, and supplied me with the newsletters!

Last edited 9 days ago by Daniele Mandelli
Airborne
Airborne
9 days ago

Yes mate forget to put that in!

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
9 days ago
Reply to  Harry Bulpit

😳

JamesF
JamesF
9 days ago
Reply to  Airborne

I believe, with great sadness, that this story is based on truth. I am aware of one independently verified incident during my time in Afghanistan which was not made public. It’s very hard to get people to break ranks and go on the record. Warrant Officer Hugh Thompson, who bravely intervened to save civilians during the Mai Lai massacre in Vietnam refused to testify against comrades until much later, despite being very vocal internally in the US Army, and when he did he faced public vilification despite his moral courage and physical bravery. The BBC has spent four years on… Read more »

Last edited 9 days ago by JamesF
Airborne
Airborne
8 days ago
Reply to  JamesF

Agreed as even the sniff of unprofessional behaviour can have serious future consequences for reputations and ongoing operations!

Posse Comitatus
Posse Comitatus
10 days ago

Bufton Tuftons ?? Nothing like a bit of generic stereotyping to pad out an article…

johan
johan
10 days ago

ClickBaite by a old Fossil who never got out of his little Armoured Car, ITS WAR is not collecting BUTTERCUPS.

Something Different
Something Different
9 days ago
Reply to  johan

Are you implying that the alleged allegations are true?

johan
johan
10 days ago

Wonder if the BBC are doing the same thing with there Russian mates in the Ukraine.
its time the BBC was closed, as yet another TOP DJ is a SEX MONSTER. Anti anything to get a gutter story

Something Different
Something Different
9 days ago
Reply to  johan

So alleged war crimes shouldn’t be investigated? I’ve seen lots of coverage by the BBC of war crimes in the Ukraine conflict. You seem to be indulging in some whataboutism

John Hartley
John Hartley
9 days ago

Who or what are you? You are going down the comments & making similar snide remarks. Who is your master? Putin or Xi?

Simon
Simon
8 days ago
Reply to  johan

Bit of a silly comment as strangely enough, they also seem to be concentrating Russian war (Sorry, special operation!! ) crimes on that as well.

Richard Graham
Richard Graham
7 days ago
Reply to  johan

I have noticed that they gernerally wait for Russian confirmation of things before reporting them. As if the government of the Russian Federation is a credibble and reliable source rather than as is proven time again, pathological liars. And also they subtly refer to Ukrainian “claims” and Russian “reports”…

Steve
Steve
10 days ago

Both Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers show incidents where US Army troops kill surrendering Wermacht soldiers. We do not see any trial of that conduct. Likewise one of Mark Felton’s excellent Youtube WW2 series deals with the SS massacre of US troops who surrendered during the 1944 Ardennes offensive and the execution of the SS perpetrators. But Mark then goes on the record that US Army troops then developed a habit of shooting many German prisoners. When General Patton was confronted with the evidence he swept it under the carpet because it would cause too much controversy as… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
10 days ago
Reply to  Steve

Atrocities were on all sides. Just a lot, lot more on the German, Russian, Japanese side!

Harry Bulpit
Harry Bulpit
10 days ago
Reply to  Steve

So your basing your argument on two Hollywood movies and a click bate historian who has been called out by for false claims and plagiarism on many occasions?

Simon
Simon
9 days ago
Reply to  Harry Bulpit

My grandfather unit shot prisoners during WWII (or more correctly Germans trying to surrender)

Mac
Mac
10 days ago

The BBC is just a safe space for your typical middle class, Metropolitan country hating lefty twot, these days when it comes to politics. Any opportunity to crap on the country comes so naturally to them.

Brexit shattered the myth that they’re in any way impartial on anything.

Its why I cancelled my licence fee 2yrs ago and haven’t missed it one little bit.

Something Different
Something Different
9 days ago
Reply to  Mac

And that has to do with the truth of these allegations how? Do you know what happened? Do you think the media should be banned from investigating alleged war crimes?

Rob N
Rob N
9 days ago

Depends who is investigating… the BBC!

Something Different
Something Different
8 days ago
Reply to  Rob N

And what if an independent investigation found these alleged incidents to be true? What should happened to the alleged people responsible?

McZ
McZ
2 days ago

Of course they should be held accountable. And there will be another investigation, plus another one and another after that, because that’s how the system operates. The question is, if the BBC has enough evidence to back up their story. I think in terms of evidence strong enough to enforce that such an independent investigation will absolutely has to find something. They don’t. And you have to wonder, if this is just another case of journalistic whataboutism; look, our troops are murdering too, let’s all be friends, ignore the Russian aggression. And when the army or some investigator doesn’t find… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
10 days ago

Why does Stuart speculate on weak leadership? -UKSF is the last place I would expect officers to show weak leadership.
I shall watch the programme – I would expect to see a lot of solid evidence if the BBC really have spent 2 years researching this.
Do I trust the BBC though? They turned a blind eye to Jimmy Savile’s offences over many years then did a cover-up…and also sanctioned Martin Bashir’s dubious tactics to secure the Princess Diana interview.

John Hartley
John Hartley
9 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

So the BBC was driven around Afghanistan with an armed Taliban escort. If you were an Afghan civilian being interviewed, you would say what the Taliban in the corner holding his AK, wanted you to say. How in Taliban controlled Afghanistan, are you going to get an unbiased statement? How did the BBC not see this undermined their investigation?

Rob N
Rob N
9 days ago
Reply to  John Hartley

Yes I think they would make sure the story that was told was anti-UKSF.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
9 days ago
Reply to  John Hartley

I agree with all that you say John. I wonder what triggered the BBC to do this suspect investigation in the first place. Some rumour, rather than hard evidence, I bet.

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
9 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

I think he’s making the point that if these killings did happen then the officers in charge are not leading well. It’s an officers role to control those under them and have them act on there instructions.

simon alexander
simon alexander
9 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

GM watch the program , the evidence is the army reports, yes the beeb dramatised the show with aussie footage and visited sites accompanied by a taliban. no one would get there otherwise.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
7 days ago

Thanks Simon. I watched the programme and had mixed views. Very surprised BBC could easily get hold of SAS after-action reports and emails to DSF. Some of the evidence was not compelling and the printed material shown very briefly in the background ranged from looking authentic to looking non-contemporaneous eg. like a transcript for a civvy audience with few or no abbreviations to be lilitary sourced. Surprised that the bereaved did not have any bullets or spent cases to show. Surprised that the SAS were deployed seemingly on weak intelligence – they usually are committed on the basis of very… Read more »

Harry Bulpit
Harry Bulpit
10 days ago

That Panarama investigate filmed his piece in a Taliban controlled Afghanistan and in a Taliban strong hold at that. Funnily enough where all these “unjustified” killings happened. There is absolutely no way the piece was not biase towards the Taliban and was an absolute disgrace. These killings have already been investigated and nothing came of it, but again the left will not be happy until British soldiers are prosecuted for crimes they never commited just because someone accuses them of it. Its a total disgrace. Last year the public where crying out for the British army to interven in Afghanistan… Read more »

Chris.
Chris.
10 days ago

Panorama, Has a history very dodgy journalism!! Bordering on being criminal. I would not trust anyone who worked or works on that program.

Dragonwight
Dragonwight
10 days ago

The second you see the lurid headline “SAS death squads” you know the substance is going to be missing. We don’t need another investigation, regardless of whether it is judge led or presided over by Jesus himself. Our opponents must wet themselves everytime we go into full retentive mode.

Barry Larking
Barry Larking
10 days ago

This is the B.B.C. that is currently astounded that the re-installed Taliban doesn’t believe in education or human rights for females. Such naiveté. These allegations have been investigated. There has been friction between Big Army and Special Forces since they were created. The people who were trying to do ‘peace keeping’ and ‘hearts and minds’ have some issues with those that come in the middle of the night looking for trouble. The friction is obvious. The B.B.C. doesn’t like very much about Great Britain, particularly England, its people, history, culture or politics. For many natives this antipathy is reciprocated. The… Read more »

Last edited 10 days ago by Barry Larking
Stc
Stc
10 days ago

Its the BBC that needs investigating and disbanding. Their record on impartial comment and investigation judging by the recent payout to the royal nanny is testimony to that.I have never been in a war but for God sake though can not those who have not or more importantly those senior officers who sit miles away from the action not understand that we cannot understand what it is like to be under fire and threat all the time. Your typical SAS soldier I suspect is going to have a unpleasant side to his nature. They are human and they cannot switch… Read more »

700 Glengarried men
700 Glengarried men
10 days ago

Problems with this is that the Phil shiner and PIL legal aid funded witch-hunt of soldiers in Iraq still strikes a nerve, it would appear that this programme takes the same line, witnesses who are under control of hostile entities with little or no corroborated evidence. This may seem be a scoop for a hack journ but a not an investigative balanced evidence led enquiry

Airborne
Airborne
7 days ago

Phil Shiner, what a total bell-end.

Rob N
Rob N
10 days ago

The BBC is not politically neutral and is left leanning and has become even more so in recent years. I would not trust them an inch… there ultimate aim is to have a go at the right of centre Brexit Conservative government who they hate and will use any incident to blacken the government so they can get a nice left wing EU loving government in next time.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
9 days ago
Reply to  Rob N

Totally. The “Noble Liar” is a book I can recommend.

Marius
Marius
10 days ago

SAS or SS – the mere hint in the title, to any comparison between the two entities, is indicative of the shite that makes up this piece. Cobbled together by a retired tankie rupert trying his hand as a hack.

Steven Alfred Rake
Steven Alfred Rake
10 days ago

As it has been pointed out on a number of occasions this and many other incidents have been investigated and proven to be spurious at best. There is a whole swath of people in the UK that generate these spurious report to either further their own objectives or simply for money from Solicitor, Barrister, Judges and Politicians also now once respected ex army officers. The BBC has an left wing and extreme Woke agenda so ex and serving member giving them credence by stating there should be yet anouther inquiry is not helping any one apart from there own back… Read more »

Something Different
Something Different
9 days ago

A gentle reminder to everyone is that the on of the reasons we’re better than Russia is because we’re not supposed to do this sort of thing.

McZ
McZ
2 days ago

We were also not supposed to ever live in lockdown, give birth and collapse under FFP2, have our kids education curtailed, all due to rules and reasoning, that turned out to be based on half-arsed evidence and plain bad science.

So, yes, let’s investigate. I’m ready.

Albion
Albion
9 days ago

Strange how the BBC can always find ‘killers’ in the Army, but can’t find paedophiles in its own organisation!

Louis
Louis
9 days ago
Reply to  Albion

😂😂😂

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
9 days ago

Not many people seem to like the bbc. I always thought it was ok. Eastenders, nature docs, cbeebies, radio 1/2/4 etc. Obviously it’s not the only thing I watch/read but mostly I haven’t found bad stuff.

simon alexander
simon alexander
9 days ago

panorama was going on army evidence it’s own reporting / recording. many reports of a detained man and therefore restrained, returned alone to a dwelling and shot whilst reaching for a weapon. there were many similar reporting’s, enough to raise reasonable doubt.

also agree asymmetric warfare and warfare where no one is in uniform is almost impossible and politicians should think hard before going into these situations.

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
9 days ago

My thinking also was about no uniforms. Can ur average Afghan tell the difference between uk, USA, Australian special forces and also the numerous private contractors etc that are in normal clothes?
I’ve not seen the program or no anything about it really

UKVoter
UKVoter
9 days ago

What a load of typical leftwing [email protected]! The left have been trying their best to destroy everything the British people take pride in from our history and traditions to now our elite SAS. I don’t believe this for a second. Just look what they did to Churchill. The man who literally saved the world. They want the British people to lose all hope in their country so that they simply give up and accept whatever fate they pick for us. Something needs to be done about the lefts control of all our institutions. But I have hope as more and… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
9 days ago
Reply to  UKVoter

Bravo.

John Clark
John Clark
8 days ago

I’ll second another Bravo…..

Simon
Simon
8 days ago
Reply to  UKVoter

Churchill was the right man in the right place at the right time in WW2 (even then he made some major mistakes). Even if you view him by the standards of the time ( which I think you should do) he was not very popular for quite a bit of his career.

Ngatimozart
Ngatimozart
9 days ago

There appears to be a bit of pattern here. The Aussie SASR have been accused of committing war crimes in Afghanistan and so had the NZSAS. In the NZ case it was lefty journos stirring the manure and ended creating all sorts of problems for 1NZSF and NZDF.

However WRT the SASR case if some fool videoed themselves and / or comrades committing illegal acts, then they deserve to be done like a Xmas dinner. I am not condoning the alleged crimes, but stupidity …

John Stott
John Stott
7 days ago

Abuse is endemic in war. Canada disbanded its paras because of a spit roast. Our own paras killed civilians on Bloody Sunday. As for WW2, Vietnam and other conflicts? Full of incidents, too many to catalogue. I guess it comes down to a simple fact, what does “elite” actually mean? Most “SF” types I met over the years were best described as aloof, some downright arrogant. Others you would pass in the street without a second glance. If they think they can get away with it? It will happen. If these allegations are true, it shows a serious lack of… Read more »

A Moore
A Moore
6 days ago

Utterly disgraceful BBC sophistry.Always defend the men who risk their lives to defend us.

Airborne
Airborne
17 hours ago
Reply to  A Moore

Who, Russian rapists? They are your soldiers saddo boy.

Richard
Richard
4 days ago

Little brother?? And with that one comment you knocked the credibility of your ‘opinion’ down a peg or 2!

Tom Keane
Tom Keane
10 minutes ago

SAS or SS – Comment from a former British Army Officer… no more than sour grapes if you ask me.