Shock: U.S. Friendly Fire Bombing Video Leaked

Tuesday Feb. 6th 2007

Details From The UK SUN:
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.?
Grief ... Matty?s body comes home
Grief ... Matty?s body comes home

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.
Anger ... Susan
Anger ... Susan

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.
Hero ... Chris Finney
Hero ... Chris Finney
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.?