The front page of the British tabloid newspaper 'The Sun', featuring details of a leaked video in which an American pilot is heard saying "we're in jail, dude" after U.S. troops killed a British soldier during a friendly fire incident in Iraq, is seen in London, Tuesday Jan. 6, 2007
**FILE ** An undated file photo of British Lance Corporal of Horse Matty Hull. The British tabloid newspaper 'The Sun' published details, Tuesday Feb. 6, 2007, of a leaked video in which an American pilot is heard saying "we're in jail, dude" after U.S. troops killed a British soldier during a friendly fire incident in Iraq. Lance Cpl. Hull died during the incident in the southern Iraqi city of Basra on March 28, 2003. A coroner investigating Hull's cause of death had demanded the video be released and presented as evidence in the inquest but U.S. authorities refused, and the British Defense Ministry said it was unable to persuade the U.S. to declassify the footage - a recording British authorities initially claimed did not exist
Joy at direct hit turns to horrorBy TOM NEWTON DUNNDefence EditorFebruary 06, 2007THE Sun today publishes the full, disturbing truth about how the US pilot of an A-10 tankbuster jet broke all the rules to shoot up a British convoy in the Iraq war. We obtained the cockpit videotape at the centre of a diplomatic row between the two Allies.It shows how the pilots — reservists who had never been in action before — made SIX crucial errors.They left 25-year-old Lance Corporal of Horse Matty Hull dead and four comrades from the Household Cavalry Regiment seriously injured.On the tape, one pilot — call sign POPOV36 - appears to gloat sickeningly during the attack.He is egged on by the second — call sign POPOV35 — who encourages: “Get him, get him!”Looking down at the chaos as a soldier drags burning comrades from the vehicles, he adds: “It looks like he is hauling ass. Ha Ha.” A second burst of fire is unleashed 98 seconds after the first. Moments later the pilots are told the truth over the radio.As they take in the horror, POPOV35 says: “We’re in jail dude”. POPOV36 weeps as they return to base: “God dammit. F*** me dead.”The “top secret” tape has been seen by the Oxfordshire coroner who is holding L/Cpl Hull’s inquest, but both the Ministry of Defence and the US government have REFUSED to let him show it in court.L/Cpl Hull’s widow Susan, of Wiltshire, was even told it did not exist.She said last night: “I’m very relieved this is being made public at long last. I can’t believe these pilots can discuss what they’re doing so casually when these are the last moments of my husband’s life.”Defence officials insist their hands were tied by a legal pledge with the Pentagon not to reveal any of their secrets. But we can reveal there is NOTHING secret on the tape. But it WILL cause appalling embarrassment.The tragedy unfolded on March 28, 2003 — day seven of the invasion to topple Saddam. The two single-seat, slow-flying jets were nearing the end of a two-hour mission to destroy artillery and rocket launchers from Saddam’s 6 Armor Division, dug in 25 miles north of Basra. They were being guided to their targets by Forward Air Controllers from the US Marine Corps — embedded with British ground units and relying on maps, intelligence and the pilots’ own vision.At the same time, the convoy of British armoured vehicles — two Scimitars and two Spartans — were moving north to probe enemy lines.They were inside an area US pilots had been told not to shoot into, and carried orange overhead canvas panels used to identify coalition forces to aircraft. They also displayed thermal reflectors and Union Flags.Circling at an altitude of 12,000ft, the A-10s spotted Iraqi vehicles 800 yards north, and the British patrol less than three miles west. ERROR ONE came when they asked the Forward Air Controller, call sign Manila Hotel, if friendly forces were around the Iraqi vehicles — not to the west. In ERROR TWO neither pilot gave the precise grid references for the Household Cavalry patrol to double check its identity.ERROR THREE saw them convince themselves the identification panels were really orange rocket launchers.In ERROR FOUR POPOV36 decides to attack, saying he is “rolling in” — without permission from the Forward Air Controller. POPOV35 asks for artillery to fire a marker round into the target area to clear up confusion. But ERROR FIVE came when POPOV36 attacked without waiting for it. In ERROR SIX POPOV36 strafes the column for a second time but still doubts its identity.Only the bravery of Trooper Chris Finney, 18, stopped further attacks. He jumped on a burning vehicle to radio in a Mayday report and call off the strike, dragged a badly wounded comrade from the inferno, then went back in for L/Cpl Hull. He was injured and won the George Cross.POPOV36 is known to be a lieutenant colonel, and POPOV35 a major, but their identities have never been released. Neither has the result of a US Air Force inquiry.Last night a senior US military source told The Sun: “This tape needs to get out. The pilots need to be brought to account.”An MoD spokesman said: “There has never been any intention to deliberately deceive or mislead L/Cpl Hull’s family. We did inform them some classified material had been withheld.”We have now handed the video tape recording taken from the cockpit of the A10 ground attack jet to the Oxfordshire Coroner’s office. Assistant Deputy Coroner Andrew Walker, who is hearing the inquest into Lance Corporal of Horse Matty Hull’s death, has expressed his gratitude.
The tape they wanted to hide By TOM NEWTON DUNN Defence EditorFebruary 06, 2007 THIS is the full transcript of the cockpit video from call sign POPOV36 during the disastrous friendly fire attack on the Household Cavalry patrol. Lasting just over 15 minutes, it begins just before the A-10 Thunderbolt pilot spots the four British vehicles.The local time is 4.36pm, or 1.36pm Greenwich Mean Time which is what the military use.The killer pilot’s wingman, hunting targets with him in a second A-10, had the call sign POPOV35.The other main call signs on the radio net are MANILA HOTEL, MANILA34, and LIGHTNING34 — three US Marine Corps Forward Air Controllers on the ground attached to British units. Later on, other call signs come on the net to relay emergency ceasefire messages.They are SKY CHIEF, an American AWAC jet controlling the overall air battle and COSTA58, a British pilot nearby.The time code in hours, minutes and seconds is from the digital clock on the pilot’s display.Transcript starts:1336.30 MANILA HOTEL:POPOV from MANILA HOTEL. Can you confirm you engaged that tube and those vehicles?1336.36 POPOV35: Affirm Sir. Looks like I’ve got multiple vehicles in reverts at about 800 metres to the north of your arty rounds. Can you switch fire, and shift fire, and get some arty rounds on those?1336.47 MANILA HOTEL: Roger, I understand that those are the impacts you observed earlier on my timing?1336.51 POPOV35: Affirmative.1336.52 MANILA HOTEL: Roger, standby. Let me make sure they’re not on another mission.1336.57 POPOV36: Hey, I got a four ship. Looks like we got orange panels on them though. Do we have any friendlies up in this area? 1337.03 MANILA HOTEL: I understand that was north 800 metres.1337.12 MANILA HOTEL: POPOV, understand that was north 800 metres?1337.16 POPOV35: Confirm, north 800 metres. Confirm there are no friendlies this far north on the ground.1337.21 MANILA HOTEL: That is an affirm. You are well clear of friendlies.1337.25 POPOV35: Copy. I see multiple riveted vehicles. Some look like flatbed trucks and others are green vehicles. Can’t quite make out the type. Look like may be ZIL157s (Russian made trucks used by Iraqi army).1337.36 MANILA HOTEL: Roger. That matches our Intel up there. And understand you also have the other fixed wing up this push? For terminal control, if you can.1337.44 POPOV35: I’d love to. I didn’t talk to him yet. 1337.46 MANILA HOTEL: Roger, I believe CASPER is up this push too. Two Super Tomcats.1337.54 POPOV35: Hey dude. 1337.56 POPOV36: I got a four ship of vehicles that are evenly spaced along a road going north.1338.04 POPOV36: Look down at your right, 2 o’clock, at 10 o’clock low, there is a, left 10 o’clock low, look down there north along that canal, right there. Coming up just south of the village.1338.21 POPOV35: Evenly spaced? Where we strafed? 1338.23 POPOV36: No. No. Further east, further west, right now. And there’s four or five of them right now heading up there. 1338.29 POPOV35: No, I don’t have you visual. 1338.30 POPOV36: I’m back at your 6 – no factor.1338.31 POPOV35: OK, now where’s this canal? 1338.35 POPOV35: Don’t hit those F18s that are out there. 1338.38 POPOV36: OK. Right underneath you. Right now, there’s a canal that runs north/south. There’s a small village, and there are vehicles that are spaced evenly there. 1338.49 POPOV36: They look like they have orange panels on though. 1338.51 POPOV35: He told me, he told me there’s nobody north of here.1338.52 POPOV36: I know. There, right on the river.1338.53 POPOV35: I see vehicles though, might be our original dudes. 1339.09 POPOV36: They’ve got something orange on top of them. 1339.10 POPOV35: POPOV for MANILA 3, is MANILA 34 in this area?1339.14 MANILA HOTEL: Say again?1339.15 POPOV35: MANILA HOTEL, is MANILA 34 in this area?1339.19 MANILA HOTEL: Negative. Understand they are well clear of that now.1339.23 POPOV35: OK, copy. Like I said, multiple riveted vehicles. They look like flatbed trucks. Are those your targets? 1339.30 MANILA HOTEL: That’s affirm. 1339.31 POPOV35: OK. 1339.34 POPOV36: Let me ask you one question. 1339.35 POPOV35: What’s that?1339.45 POPO36: (to MANILA HOTEL) Hey, tell me what type of rocket launchers you got up here?1339.50 POPOV36: I think they’re rocket launchers.1339.52 MANILA HOTEL: . . . (garbled) You were stepped on, say again.1339.54 POPOV35: MANILA HOTEL, fire your arty (artillery) up that 800 metres north, and see how we do.1340.01 MANILA HOTEL: Roger, standby for shot. They are getting adjustments to the guns now.1340.34 POPOV35: Copy.1340.09 POPOV36: Roll up your right wing and look right underneath you. 1340.12 POPOV35: (angry) I know what you’re talking about.1340.13 POPOV36: OK, well they got orange rockets on them. 1340.17 POPOV35: Orange rockets?1340.17 POPOV36: Yeah, I think so.1340.18 POPOV35: Let me look.1340.26 POPOV35: We need to think about getting home.1340.29 POPOV36: 3.6 is what it says (a fuel measurement).1340.31 POPOV35: Yeah, I know. I’m talking time wise. 1340.35 POPOV36: I think killing these damn rocket launchers, it would be great.(The tape then becomes garbled)1340.52 MANILA HOTEL: Yeah, POPOV36, MANILA HOTEL. I’ve got other aircraft up this push. Not sure they’re coming to me. Someone else might be working this freak.1341.00 POPOV35: Yeah, MANILA34 is working them, break, break.1340.12 POPOV36: Yeah, I see that, you see I’m going to roll down.1340.15 MANILA 34: Break, be advised MANILA34 is not working the F18s unless they are trying to check in with me, over.1341.21 POPOV35: Copy. 1341.24 POPOV36: OK, do you see the orange things on top of them?1341.32 MANILA HOTEL: POPOV 36 from MANILA HOTEL. Are you able to switch to Crimson?1341.37 POPOV36: POPOV 36 is rolling in.1341.40 MANILA HOTEL: Tell you what. 1341.41 POPOV35: I’m coming off west. You roll in. It looks like they are exactly what we’re talking about.1341.49 POPOV36: We got visual. 1341.50 POPOV36: OK. I want to get that first one before he gets into town then. 1341.53 POPOV35: Get him – get him.1341.55 POPOV36: All right, we got rocket launchers, it looks like. Number 2 is rolling in from the south to the north, and 2’s in.1342.04 POPOV35: Get it.POPOV36, “rolls in” for an attack and turns his A-10 into a vertical dive to strafe the British column, destroying two Scimitar armoured vehicles and killing L/Cpl of Horse Matty Hull. 1342.09 - GUNFIRE - 1342.18 POPOV35: I’m off your west. 1342.22 POPOV35: Good hits.1342.29 POPOV36: Got a visual.1342.30 POPOV35: I got a visual. You’re at your high 10.1342.31 POPOV36: Gotcha.1342.30 POPOV36: That’s what you think they are, right?1342.39 POPOV35: It looks like it to me, and I got my goggles on them now.1342.59 POPOV35: OK, I’m looking at getting down low at this. 1343.13 MANILA HOTEL: POPOV 36 from MANILA HOTEL, guns . . . 1343.17 MANILA HOTEL:To engage those targets in the revetts (slopes). 1343.24 POPOV36: It looks like he is hauling ass. Ha ha. Is that what you think they are?1343.34 POPOV36: 1–21343.35 POPOV35: It doesn’t look friendly. 1343.38 POPOV36: OK, I’m in again from the south. 1343.40 POPOV35: Ok.1343.47 - GUNFIRE -1343.54 LIGHTNING 34: POPOV 34, LIGHTNING 34.1344.09 POPOV35: POPOV 35, LIGHTNING 34 GO.1344.12 LIGHTNING 34: Roger, POPOV. Be advised that in the 3122 and 3222 group box you have friendly armour in the area. Yellow, small armoured tanks. Just be advised.1344.16 POPOV35: Ahh s***.1344.19 P0POV35: Got a — got a smoke.1344.21 LIGHTNING 34: Hey, POPOV34, abort your mission. You got a, looks we might have a blue on blue situation.1344.25 POPOV35: F***. God bless it.1344.29 POPOV35: POPOV 34.1344.35 POPOV35: F***, f***, f***.1344.36 MANILA 34: POPOV34, this is MANILA 34. Did you copy my last, over?1344.39 POPOV35: I did. 1344.47 POPOV35: Confirm those are friendlies on that side of the canal.1344.51 POPOV35: S***.1344.58 MANILA 34: Standby POPOV. 1345.04 POPOV36: God dammit. 1344.14 MANILA HOTEL: Hey POPOV 36, from MANILA HOTEL. 1344.25 MANILA 34: OK POPOV. Just west of the 3-4 easting. On the berm up there, the 3422 area is where we have our friendlies, over.1344.39 POPOV35: All right, POPOV 35 has smoke. Let me know how those friendlies are right now, please.1344.45 MANILA 34: Roger, standby.1344.49 POPOV35: Gotta go home dude.1344.50 POPOV36: Yeah, I know. We’re f***ed.1345.54 POPOV35: S***.1346.01 POPOV36: As you cross the circle, you are 3 o’clock low.1346.03 POPOV35: Roger.1346.12 POPOV35: POPOV 35 is Bingo. Let us know what’s happening.13446.15 MANILA HOTEL: Roger. We are getting that information for you right now. Standby.1346.20 POPOV36: F***.1346.47 MANILA 34: POPOV, this is MANILA 34 over.1346.51 POPOV35: Go.1346.55 MANILA 34: POPOV 4, MANILA 34 over.1347.01 POPOV35: Go.1347.02 MANILA 34: We are getting an initial brief that there was one killed and one wounded, over.1347.09 POPOV35: Copy. RTB (return to base).1347.18 POPOV35: I’m going to be sick.1347.24 POPOV36: Ah f***.1347.48 POPOV35: Did you hear?1347.51 POPOV36: Yeah, this sucks.1347.52 POPOV35: We’re in jail dude.1347.59 POPOV36: Aaaahhhh.1348.12 SKY CHIEF: MANILA this is SKY CHIEF over.1348.18 MANILA34: This is MANILA 34, send SKY CHIEF.1348.22 COSTA58: SKY CHIEF, SKY CHIEF. COSTA 58.1348.25 MANILA HOTEL: SKY CHIEF, this is MANILA HOTEL.1348.30 COSTA58: SKY CHIEF, SKY CHIEF. COSTA 58.1348.41 SKY CHIEF: Relaying for TWINACT, the A-10s are running against friendlies.1348.47 COSTA58: POPOV 35, this is COSTA58. Relaying message for TWINACT. Abort, abort.1348.54 SKY CHIEF: MANILA how copy A-10s are running against friendlies. Abort. Over.1349.07 COSTA58: From TWINACT, abort, abort.1349. 11 POPOV35: POPOV 35 aborting.1349.14 COSTA58: We will relay that back to TWINACT.1349.18 POPOV36: F***. God f***ing s***.1350.21 POPOV36: Dammit. F***ing damn it. 1351.17 P0POV36: God dammit. F*** me dead (weeping). 1351.25 POPOV35: You with me?1351.27 POPOV36: Yeah.1351.30 POPOV35: They did say there were no friendlies.1351.33 POPOV36: Yeah, I know that thing with the orange panels is going to screw us. They look like orange rockets on top.1351.48 POPOV35: Your tape still on?1351.49 POPOV36: Yeah.1351.54 POPOV35: Mine is end of tape.Transcript ends.
Cockpit video stuns world By VINCE SOODINFebruary 06, 2007 THE Sun’s exclusive cockpit footage of a friendly fire attack has stunned the world this morning. The top secret video of US pilots killing British soldier Matty Hull has led news bulletins today and been analysed by military chiefs.This morning General Patrick Cordingley, who commanded British troops during the first Gulf War, said he “fully understands” why the family and others wanted the tape to be released.But he added in a BBC interview: “There will always be these mistakes in war.”The Oxfordshire coroner investigating the death of Lance Corporal of Horse Hull said the video can be used in the soldier’s inquest now that the Sun has unearthed it. Today Geoff Webb, the coroner’s officer, said Mr Walker could use the Sun’s copy of the tape at the adjourned inquest.He said: “This material is now in the public domain and that means that it can be used in the Matty Hull inquest.”The American Embassy said US authorities were looking at whether the tape could be declassified.Official David Johnson told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme that the US had been working with the British Government to provide them with “materials which help them understand what went on”.“Under our law and our procedures we are very open with your Government in providing them with information which is classified,” he insisted.Asked why the US had withheld the tape, Mr Johnson said US soldiers were sent into combat under certain laws which should not be changed “after the fact”.“We expect our forces to operate under a set of predictable laws which are established before the fact,” he said.Mr Johnson went on: “One thing I want to make very clear is our heart goes out to this family."Stewart Purvis, who was editor-in-chief of ITN when reporter Terry Lloyd was killed by so-called friendly fire, said there were clear “parallels” between the two incidents.In both, the US authorities had refused to co-operate, the Ministry of Defence had been unable to force them to co-operate and the victim’s families had been “lied to”, he told the BBC.A Ministry of Defence spokeswoman refused to comment last night on the contents of the video, adding: “A copy of the video was used as evidence by the Board of Inquiry’s (BOI) investigation into the incident.“This recording is the property of the United States government and the MoD does not have the right to release it without their permission.“When the BOI findings were released to the family we did inform them that some classified material had been withheld, but we did not specify its exact nature.“There has never been any intention to deliberately deceive or mislead L/Cpl of Horse Hull’s family.”The MoD has said that the recording was an American classified document and it could not override the classification.Last Friday, the coroner said he “had no choice” but to delay his verdict until the recording of the incident was produced by the Government.He added that the failure of the Ministry of Defence to get authorisation to show the recording was a “matter of profound regret” and “greatly saddens” him.Last week HCR Captain Alexander MacEwen, who was leading L/Cpl Hull’s troop when it was hit, said the Americans had to be brought to account.He said: “I believe that if they are brought to the inquest or made to give evidence, it will make them think twice about their actions in the future.”
Matty pilot now trains Top Guns By TOM NEWTON DUNNFebruary 07, 2007 THE pilot in the “friendly fire” horror is now in charge of training other US fliers to kill, The Sun can reveal. The airman, nicknamed Skeeter, was promoted to Colonel with the Air National Guard’s A10 tankbuster training wing at a top US base.He teaches novices how to dive and strafe targets, as he did in the attack that killed Lance Cpl of Horse Matty Hull.We showed Matty’s widow Susan the video of the attack, and she said: “Finally I am seeing my husband die at the hands of two imbeciles.” She added: “I am really grateful to The Sun for exposing this.“I always knew there was something seriously wrong with the circumstances surrounding Matty’s death.”Yesterday, we shocked the world by publishing the tape at the heart of the incident — filmed from inside the pilot’s A10. It shows the airman — whose Skeeter nickname is US slang for mosquito — break all the rules to shoot up the four vehicle-strong Household Cavalry convoy. He was in radio contact with a colleague flying alongside.Andrew Walker, Oxfordshire Assistant Deputy Coroner, demanded the MoD and US government hand it over to him last week. Finally yesterday, following our exclusive, US defence chiefs caved in and agreed the tape would be declassified and could be used as evidence.The attack took place on March 28, 2003, seven days into the invasion of Iraq. Skeeter, a member of the 190th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron of the Idaho Air National Guard, was flying his very first combat missions.That was despite being a military pilot for more than 20 years.A US Air Force Brigadier General did conduct an inquiry behind closed doors into what went wrong. Its findings were never released. But The Sun has learned that Skeeter and his wingman were cleared of any wrongdoing, with neither pilot being court martialled.