News

Johnny Mercer says ‘multiple sources’ told him unarmed Afghans were shot by the SAS and that he suspects a cover-up


Veterans’ Minister Johnny Mercer said ‘multiple sources’ warned him that unarmed Afghans were shot by the SAS during the war.

Giving evidence to the Afghanistan public inquiry, the former army officer said he was aware of a ‘pallor and odour’ that the elite unit was suspected of carrying out unlawful killings and covering up their crimes.

Mr Mercer said he had not wanted to believe the claims at first but the more he looked into them ‘the worse’ it got.

He said he suspected a cover-up after internal investigations found there was no video recordings from a number of operations which he found to be ‘implausible’.

Giving evidence to the Afghanistan public inquiry, the former army officer said he was aware of a ¿pallor and odour¿ that the elite unit was suspected of carrying out unlawful killings and covering up their crimes. Pictured: Veterans¿ Minister Johnny Mercer

Giving evidence to the Afghanistan public inquiry, the former army officer said he was aware of a ‘pallor and odour’ that the elite unit was suspected of carrying out unlawful killings and covering up their crimes. Pictured: Veterans’ Minister Johnny Mercer 

Mr Mercer said he had not wanted to believe the claims at first but the more he looked into them 'the worse' it got (Stock Image)

Mr Mercer said he had not wanted to believe the claims at first but the more he looked into them ‘the worse’ it got (Stock Image)

The inquiry is examining whether special forces had a policy of executing males of ‘fighting age’ who posed no threat in Afghanistan between 2010 and 2013.

Afghan families have accused the unit of conducting a ‘campaign of murder’ against civilians, amid claims of a cover-up.

Speaking yesterday, Mr Mercer said he raised his suspicion’s with the then Secretary of State telling him ‘something stinks’ but said Ben Wallace failed to understand the ‘gravity’ of the situation.

Of the lack of footage recorded via drones, he told the hearing it was a ‘significant concern for me…it was implausible that FMV (full motion video) did not exist.’

He told the inquiry that he simply ‘did not believe’ the director of special forces and the chief of general staff when they told him there were no recordings for 10 randomly selected operations.

Mr Mercer said he reported his concerns to Ben Wallace after being asked to ‘get to the bottom’ of the allegations.

‘The secretary of state is a busy man. I don’t think that he understood the gravity of that,’ he said.

Mr Mercer said that while he had tried to trust the the system he had ‘little faith that the MOD had the ability to hold itself to account’.

‘I always knew I would be sat here one day,’ he added.

The 42-year-old said he was first came across the allegations while training to become a member of the special forces during his third tour of Afghanistan in 2010.

He said he first considered the claims to be rumours or gossip but the allegations came to his attention again when he became an MP.

Afghan families have accused the unit of conducting a 'campaign of murder' against civilians, amid claims of a cover-up (Stock Image)

Afghan families have accused the unit of conducting a ‘campaign of murder’ against civilians, amid claims of a cover-up (Stock Image)

‘There was a general sort pallor or odour around the switchover organisation from 2009-2010…but no one really said anything to me personally because it wasn’t within my remit,’ he said.

During his time as a member of the Defence Select Committee, he said a friend told him that he had been asked to carry a ‘dropped weapon’ – an untraceable firearm which could be planted on the body of an unarmed Afghan.

But during a tense exchange, Mr Mercer repeatedly refused to hand over the name of officer and ‘multiple’ others who told him about the unlawful shootings.

When accused by counsel Oliver Glasgow of refusing to help the inquiry, Mr Mercer said he was not ‘prepared to burn’ his contacts and wanted to keep his ‘integrity’.

The inquiry continues.



Source link

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button