Britain Cries Murder Over Journalist's Death

If the "special relationship" between the United States and Britain has been strained by the fallout over Iraq, it seems to have become especially troubled as of late.

A beleaguered Tony Blair, President Bush's strongest ally in the world, is due to leave office within the year. A leading medical journal has published a study alleging castrophic loss of civilian life in Iraq. And a top general stunned Downing Street by telling the once pro-war Daily Mail that British troops should withdraw from Iraq "sometime soon."

It seemed that bad news couldn't get much worse for the longtime Anglo-American alliance, at least in terms of the global war on terrorism.

Then last Friday, a British coroner ruled that veteran TV correspondent Terry Lloyd was "unlawfully killed" by U.S. troops in March 2003 while being evacuated from a Iraqi war zone. The coroner found that the minibus carrying a wounded Lloyd posed no threat to U.S. troops when they fired on it, and that he would query the British attorney general about charging those reponsible for his death.

Blair now faces parliamentary demands that he "apply pressure on Washington to ensure that US Marines are tried in a British court" for Lloyd's murder, according to the Press Gazette, a British news site.

The coroner's findings have attracted wide coverage in both the British tabloids and mainstream press.

Lloyd was praised by Sky News TV correspondent Ross Appleyard as a consumate professional who was among the first to report the truth about about Saddam Hussein's poison gas attacks on Kurdish villages in 1988 and the hype about Private Jessica Lynch's alleged shootout with Iraqi troops in 2003.

According to the Guardian, the coroner heard testimony that Lloyd, 50, a reporter for the ITN network, was wounded during a gunfight between a US tank and an Iraqi armed pick-up truck on March 23, 2003. He was helped into a minibus but as it sped towards a hospital, "American forces opened fire, hitting Lloyd in the head as he lay in back of the minibus."

"Murdered," declared the tabloid Mirror. Lloyd's widow Lynn and daughter Chelsey "demanded the marine who shot him in the head as he lay injured be prosecuted for war crimes."

A Pentagon spokesman told the Telegraph that "an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident was completed in May 2003. The investigation was limited to the engagement of the vehicle Mr Lloyd was travelling in."

"The investigation determined that US forces followed the applicable rules of engagement."

"The Department of Defence has never deliberately targeted non-combatants, including journalists. We have always gone to extreme measures to avoid civilian casualties and collateral damage."

Lloyd's family bitterly rejected that claim.

They described the U.S. forces who fired the fatal shot "as acting like 'trigger-happy cowboys' and said his death was a 'despicable, deliberate and vengeful act,'" according to The Scotsman.

"Are the killers of Terry Lloyd getting away with his murder?" asked BBC foreign editor John Simpson.

His answer: Probably.

"It is highly unlikely that the US soldiers who killed the ITN correspondent Terry Lloyd and two members of his team during the invasion of Iraq in 2003 will be brought to justice," Simpson wrote in The Independent.

"Yet even if the British government were prepared to put pressure on the Bush administration, it would almost certainly come to nothing. American soldiers who kill civilians through carelessness or brutality in battle receive a remarkable degree of protection from the US authorities. There is little investigation, and a soldier can usually clear himself by saying he opened fire because he believed his life was in danger."

By Jefferson Morley |  October 18, 2006; 11:32 AM ET  | Category:  Europe
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Is anyone going to cry about this incident?

A young Iraqi Woman who was gang-raped and murdered by five American soldiers in Iraq. The soldiers also killed her father, mother, and young sister in her family home south of Baghdad.

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Posted by: Muhammad Azeem Akhter | October 18, 2006 01:04 PM

"There is little investigation, and a soldier can usually clear himself by saying he opened fire because he believed his life was in danger."

In other words, we value the sanctity of human life. . . But ours is more sacred than yours.

What a load of crap!

Posted by: Thom | October 18, 2006 01:07 PM

It is an ongoing problem that American forces who do these things are rarely brought to justice. This is just one instance of many and it sends a really awful message to the rest of the world. I am suprised that stiffer sentences have not been forthcoming in some cases where there was clear neglect (such as the bombing of Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan). This needs to change but in the case of the ITN reporter there was an ongoing firefight. The most troubling aspect of the Lloyd case was the missing fifteen minutes of film from the US soldiers. Someone covered something up and there should be an investigation into that aspect of the case.

Posted by: Fox | October 18, 2006 01:26 PM

A reporter in a war zone is caught in the crossfire, shot by Iraqis, and evacuated in an unmarked minivan.

American soldiers, who have been the victims of unlawful combatants fighting in civilian areas, wearing civilian clothing and using unmarked vehicles as car bombs, open fire on this unmarked minivan.

Journalist dies.

Tragic? Yes. unexpected? No. A crime? No.

Posted by: PJ | October 18, 2006 02:04 PM

"There is little investigation, and a soldier can usually clear himself by saying he opened fire because he believed his life was in danger."

Using the same quote that thom did to try to prove a different point. His life is constantly in danger because he is in a war zone. Does that mean he can just fire off at anyone and everyone?

Of course it does not.

When enlisting in the army there is a certain inherent danger. They know this, but enlist anyway. I get the feeling some of them do it for the chance to shoot some rag-heads, resistance fighters or no. And many of them do so with the acceptance (tacit or active) of their superiors.

This needs to stop.

Posted by: | October 18, 2006 02:55 PM

The arrogance and insensitivity of the American warhawks is completely disgusting. I agree with the poster who mentioned the many instances of "friendly fire" resulting in the deaths of Canadians and British citizens. Some people are so drunk on testosterone and adreneline they lose their validity as humans.

Posted by: robbin | October 18, 2006 03:01 PM

"A young Iraqi Woman who was gang-raped and murdered by five American soldiers in Iraq. The soldiers also killed her father, mother, and young sister in her family home south of Baghdad." This has been in the news for months. The suspects are in custody awaiting trial.

The soldiers accused in the case of the death of the British journalist are under jurisdiction of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. They will never be tried by a British court. They're all young people put in an untenable situation by an arrogant foolish U.S. administration.

Posted by: M | October 18, 2006 03:23 PM

It's sad that our President's irresponsible ways have led to the world believe Americans are "trigger-happy cowboys". As is similar to America's and the world's general population, America's military has its good seeds and bad ones; however, I dare say 90% are good. I don't know if the death of this reporter was murder or accidental, but I'm sure of this - war makes many people go a little crazy. I wish we could focus on all the tragedies that have happened because everybody's life is precious; however, the realty is we can't. Instead everyone focus should be on how to stop the atrocity at hand and make sure it never happens again.

Posted by: mynamedoesntmatternordoesurs | October 18, 2006 04:11 PM

I seriously doubt the servicemembers were out to kill this journalist. Unless there is compelling evidence that the killing was deliberate they should not be tried. Bad things happen in war, that is why wars should be avoided and this war was definitely worth avoiding.

Posted by: JoMama | October 18, 2006 04:28 PM

I wonder when the British coroner will rule the thousands of German civilians killed in Dresden "unlawfully killed" and start calling for trials of British pensioners.

Posted by: PJ | October 18, 2006 05:22 PM

There have certainly been enough war crimes to go around for all parties to this conflict. I believe the President and Vice-President should be impeached and tried for war crimes, but my opinion is based on facts and documents. I think the facts and conclusions of the investigation concerning the death of this reporter should be available for public examination and proceed from there. I am just guessing, but I doubt if this reporter's death was premeditated. I'm as paranoid as anyone else about this conflict, but I don't see a reason for killing any reporter by American forces.

Posted by: P. J. Casey | October 18, 2006 05:55 PM

PJ seems to dislike the British. Does that extend to Canadians, I wonder? Is it ok to kill anyone who isn't American, is that what is going on here?

Posted by: robbin | October 18, 2006 07:27 PM

I constantly feel that this war is a disaster. Today again some 10 Americans killed, multiply by 10 to get soldiers badly hurt for live (100), and multiply by whatever to get total Iraqies hurt and killed. Meanwhile Iraq Government is not working out, Iraqies are killing each other, etc., etc. and yes we (USA) got away with killing the British Journalist. From all angles nothing but escalating disaster. Where is George Bush now admitting that he had no clear reason for starting this war and for so blatantly lying (building nuclear bombs with help of an African country - pretty sick). I'm totally discusted that the entire western world swallowed this nonsense. What now? It indeed is equally shocking that Bush, Blair, United Europe, etc. don't have the foggiest idea of how to get out of Iraq, etc., etc. History books won't give Bush a passing grade for his 8 years as President.

Posted by: justangryamerican | October 18, 2006 09:25 PM

It's a shame this reporter and his teammates died in what appears, notwithstanding the claims of the coroner (who is this guy, Quincy?)and those pearls of truth and objectivity -- British tabloids, to have been an accident in the midst of combat. However, if one chooses to label this as "unlawful" or "murder", one must also be able to demostrate motive. At the risk of inviting every dolt who has an axe to grind to respond and tie this blog up ad infinitum, where is the motive? Trigger happy cowboys? Hepped up marines looking to blow things up? Off-the-reservation soldiers who don't like combat paparazzi? Am I being outrageous enough for you? Would you like me to go full tilt...something like the marines didn't like the make of the ambulance, so they offed it? Are you kidding me? Are we in Area 51 yet?

Posted by: Get a Clue | October 18, 2006 09:36 PM

I have to go w/ Get a Clue and PJ (pre-Dresden comment that is). I'm the first in line to bash Bush 43 and his cronies but am extremely hesitant to point a finger at those out there on the front. For goodness sake we're talking about a warzone with all the chaos and fear and adrenaline, etc..that most of us (mercifully) will never experience - and that's a dangerous place to be. Hello, bad stuff happens when people are shooting automatic weapons at each other, and quite honestly I'm surprised more journalists aren't killed while trying to capture the next best scoop. We live in a society where someone can sue McDonalds for hot coffee (and win), and yet should somehow expect those rules of blissful non-chalance and safety (for lack of a better word) apply in every situation regardless? Come on. Its sad for sure, but here's the deal - war sucks and people die, and not only do they die, but they die in awful ways. Children, women, non-combatants, everyone - which is exactly why we need to chose more carefully when we place that power into the hands of underqualified leaders.

Posted by: steve | October 18, 2006 10:16 PM

So a White House Press Corps reporter asks Mr. Bush about the peer-reviewed study in The Lancet that estimates 650,000 excess deaths due to our oil grab on behalf of ExxonMobil. Professor Bush, in his estimable studied academic wisdom says, "whatever that guess was... it's... not credible".

AT THAT, THE PRESS POOL FOLLOWS UP DOGGEDLY: "Mr. President, *ahem* thank you, I-- I'll give your compliments about my suit to my tailor. Thank you. Heh heh heh."

This is the sorry, sorry, SORRY state of American journalism in the 21st century. What a bunch of utterly worthless losers these people with the press passes are. If you see a Press Corps reporter today, PLEASE hork up a really good loogy and spit on them for me. Jesus, I make a better effort while on tranquilizers than these marionettes do.

Posted by: B2O | October 19, 2006 12:50 AM

Beside Russia one opinion to problem. We against.


Posted by: ROOM | October 19, 2006 05:36 AM

Americans accidentally killing Canadians cannot be called a war crime. These have not been malicious acts but inevitable and tragic instances of friendly fire. Americans kill Americans in that way all the time, but no one is screaming war crimes for those deaths. In the Gulf War the vast majority of American casualties were inflicted by Americans.

Some readers seem to think that our soldiers are too trigger happy and there may be a large contingent of people that want to kill people. Well that may very well be true. The Army and the Marines take kids and drill into them the absolute necessity that they do what no one is ever suppossed to do; kill other human beings. If you then put these kids in an environment where the enemy could be anyone, anytime, and coming from any direction, there are going to be many, many civilian deaths.

Posted by: | October 19, 2006 10:45 AM


The study you refer to has been somewhat discredited. An absurdly small number of cluster points were chosen. This does not allow for a reliable result. The pollsters also apparently failed to take down any demographic data about those they polled whatsoever. This also makes it impossible to varify the results and displays another break in sound and nearly universal procedure. Given that this estimate differs from similar and methodologically sound efforts by about 1000%, I would say that its claims are highly dubious.

Posted by: | October 19, 2006 10:53 AM

To the poster at 10:53:

Would you be happier with 500,000 dead?

What about 250,000?

One is too many to lay at our doorstep, especially when we are already viewed as not caring about Iraqi lives.

I would suggest that you google Madeline Albright and 60 Minutes.
There is an interview where she takes responsibility for the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children due to our, not the UN's sanctions as "worth it" price to pay to get rid of Saddam.

They hate us not because of our freedom, but because we keep killing them, and show absolutely ZERO remorse for that.

The last thing we need is for our allies to believe the same thing.

Sacrifice a Marine or two for the sake of our alliances? ABSOLUTELY!

And I have many friends in the Marines, and other branches of the armed forces.

Posted by: Thom | October 19, 2006 11:33 AM

I'm not anti-British, and I never said anything about Canadians. My comment about Dresden was obviously a mockery of the coroner's ridiculous opinion. Nevertheless, the bombing of Dresden was considerably more morally dubious than killing a journalist in the cross fire between ground troops.

The death of innocents is the inevitable result of war, one of the things that makes war so terrible. It has nothing to do with trigger-happy cowboys.

If graduates of Oxford and Cambridge fought in wars (they used to) they would also accidentally kill innocents, especially if they were forced to fight an enemy who didn't wear a uniform and hid among civilians.

Posted by: PJ | October 19, 2006 01:55 PM


What in my post would suggest that I am alright with any deaths in Iraq? I was pointing out that a stated death toll came from a deeply flawed study and was therefore not effective in making a point about anything.

I think the war was morally unjustifiable from the get. I also think that we have a moral duty to do everything we can to prevent a civil war. I do not agree with the British army commander's assement that we are doing more harm than good. Without our presence there would be nothing to hinder those bent on sectarian conflict. It can get much, much worse. We could see a situation where the fictitious 600,000 becomes all too real. So yes, I do see a very big difference between 60,000 and 600,000 deaths.

And don't pretend that the situation with the sanctions was so cut and dry. Saddam still had the means to feed and care for his population. His extravagant lifestyle never suffered, nor did his military personnel feel any hunger pains. He is the one that used his own people as a propaganda tool against the West, and he did so to great effect. Our smart sanctions were in actuality an agreement between Sadam and the UN to loosen the screws on his regime in return for an end to the suffering of his own people.

People like Saddam will always be able to act with impunity against an international regime who's actions are largely hemmed in by the West's weak stomached* moral consensus. You have to admit that does pose a problem when amoral actors such as Saddam or Kim are able to develop the worst kind of weapons. Again I am not saying we were justified in starting a war with Iraq, but I would hope that you can admit that the situation is not as black and white as your post seems to indicate.
*weak stomached in that we are not willing to inflict casualties, but we are also not willing to stop those that are inflicting massive casualties i.e., Rwanda and Darfur.

I am not sure what your intention is when you say we have to sacrifice a few marines. If you mean that marines involved in incidents like Hadditha, they absolutely should be punished. However, if you think every marine that kills a civillian needs to be punished, or even a significant number of them you are being awfully naive.

Posted by: | October 19, 2006 03:21 PM

sorry my name is John-Michael (2 posts @ 10:50 and one at 3:21)

Posted by: | October 19, 2006 03:22 PM

I guess my point is that accountablity is something that is sorely lacking, both in our foreign policy and in our armed forces, from the bottom to the top, it is always someone else's fault. (An endemic problem in the whole country actually. i.e. it's video games' and movies that are making our kids violent and lascivious, like sex and violence didn't exist before the cathode)

I would dearly like to see people in all walks of life take responsibility for their own actions.

Whether true or not, Albright's comments are repeatedly shown all over the world, giving people with little knowledge of the legality of the sanctions, or Saddam's personal hoarding, a viewpoint that is rapidly turning against my country.

The Hadditha massacre, our unswerving support for Israeli repression and aggression (institutional, not popular), Mogadishu, our resistance to the ICC, Abu Ghraib, the fact that we don't talk to our enemies, then expect them to do what we want, heck even our invasion of Grenada, are cause for people around the world (to begin) to question our motives.

The absolute last thing we should want to do is alienate any of the few allies we have left.

So figure out which marines were responsible for the reporter's death and put them on trial. This does not mean they were guilty, and they will probably be exonerate, it was a war zone after all.

Let's begin a culture of accountability, as opposed to one of immunity and buck-passing.

Posted by: Thom | October 20, 2006 09:38 AM

without punishment, there is no crime.

Posted by: cc | October 24, 2006 08:08 PM

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