14th July 2009, the day after an inquiry was launched into alleged abuse meted out to Iraqis held captive by the Queen’s Lancashire Regiment in Basra in September 2003, Richard Littlejohn wrote this two paragraph aside on the matter:
Richard Littlejohn was reacting to allegations that prisoners had been:
verbally abused, burned, stamped and urinated on and forced to lie face down over full latrines… [and were subject to] conditioning techniques such as hooding and the use of stress techniques, outlawed in 1972 as a result of abuse in Northern Ireland…
As was pointed out at the time, the inquiry was not about the British Army ‘making people dance in an amusing way’, but it was actually centred around the death of Baha Mousa, a 26 year old man who died from 93 separate injuries inflicted on him over a 36-hour period. It was an inquiry into this death – and many others who also suffered extensive injuries during the same period – that Littlejohn felt the need to mock.
At the time he blamed the ‘Not In My Name crowd’ for ‘clutching at straws’ in order to try and pin some kind of blame on UK soldiers, as well as finding it hilarious that prisoners might have been made to dance like Michael Jackson.
Given that today the result of that inquiry has been announced, can we expect a grovelling apology from Richard Littlejohn? Here is a summary of what the inquiry found from the BBC:
An Iraqi man died after suffering an “appalling episode of serious gratuitous violence” in a “very serious breach of discipline” by UK soldiers, a year-long inquiry has found…
Mr Mousa, a father-of-two, died two days after his arrest.
The inquiry concluded that the death was caused by a combination of his weakened physical state and a final bout of abuse.
Cpl Donald Payne had violently assaulted Mr Mousa in the minutes before he died, punching and possibly kicking him, and using a dangerous restraint method, the inquiry found.
While this was a “contributory cause” in the death, Mr Mousa had already been weakened by factors including lack of food and water, heat, exhaustion, fear, previous injuries and the hooding and stress positions used by British troops.
Sir William said Payne was a “violent bully” who inflicted a “dreadful catalogue of unjustified and brutal violence” on the detainees, also encouraging more junior soldiers to do the same.
The report ends with a paragraph that Richard Littlejohn might want to read over and over:
Mr Mousa’s 22-year-old wife had died of cancer shortly before his detention, meaning his death left his two young sons, Hussein and Hassan, orphaned.
Go on, Richard, make a joke out of that.