back to article Army officer tossed laptops into the sea

The High Court has heard how an army officer destroyed laptops containing pictures of Iraqis killed in a controversial battle near Basra. The hearing yesterday was part of a bid by six Iraqis to force the government to order a judicial review into the "Battle of Danny Boy", The Guardian reports. The six claim they were …


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  1. david

    Whoever said...

    ...military intelligence is an oxymoron was not far off the mark.

  2. Torben Mogensen

    Babies and bathwater

    I can't help feeling that tossing the whole laptop in the Channel is OTT. He could just have taken the HD drive out and tossed that. And even here, there are better solutions: There are many free programs that can irrecoverably delete all information on a disk. Or he could just install Linux and ask it to reformat the disk to ext3 during the installation. :-)

  3. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. Tony

    Um.... What?

    So... the standard Ministry of Defence procedure for decomissioning unwanted computer equipment is to hop on the ferry to Calais and lob it over the side then?

    At least that explains how our navy ended up with all those copies of Windows - They must have floated past after the army decided to dispose of them.

  5. Ian McNee

    C'mon Chris... can do better than simply making a rather rough summary of a Grauniad web article. Last time I looked you were a journalist!

  6. Dennis
    Black Helicopters

    Go directly to jail, do not collect £200

    I'm sure "throwing into the sea" isn't a recommended method of disposal of MoD equipment.

    If this was you or I we'd be listening to a "perverting the course of justice" charge.

    Anyone taking bets that he'll get promoted for his initiative.

  7. Matt D

    "You threw your laptop in the sea?"

    "It'd eaten all me fags, like."

  8. Henry Wertz Gold badge

    Sounds open-and-shut to me

    Sounds open-and-shut to me. No comment on the actual case they are looking into, I don't expect soldiers to be 100% "precision" when they are ambushed.

    But, certainly destruction of (government) property, and destruction of evidence are a no-brainer in this case; he didn't even panic and throw them both out at once, but threw the second machine out, which he said had "a lot of work documents" on it, later.

  9. Stumpy Joe
    Thumb Up

    It's a witch!

    Throwing things over board is a good old, tried and tested examination method. If if floats it's a witch! If it sinks God meant it to. Never fails!

  10. Anonymous Coward


    Ok lets beat up this guy who throws away evidence then take photos of his bleedign head and eyes....

    Make life size print outs and tape them on every wall in his house so he feel unpleasant. for the rest of his life.

  11. Maty

    The case for the defence

    Prosecutor: So why did you hurl your laptop into the briny deep?

    Officer: It was running Windows vista

    Prosecutor: Ah. Good point.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    He seems to be admitting to copying classified information to his personal laptop and then desposing of that laptop in a way that definitely doesn't comply with official guidance. That's two strikes. If the second laptop was MoD property then he's also admitting to desposing of government property without permission. Strike three!

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So what?

    Maybe he should have said he sent them via Internal Mail instead, or maybe left them on a train.

    Nothing has ever been done about the tossers in Westminster who fuck up like that, and they can't even claim to be protecting people who are constantly under real threat of imminent death.

    Civilian casualties are always regrettable, but there is a world of difference between shooting 20 people INCLUDING known terrorists and parking a car bomb in a crowded marketplace in the hope of killing one or two infidels amongst the hundreds of "fellow" Iraqis. Maybe we should send our glorious politicians out there, let them see what lfe is really like at the wrong end of an "insurgent's" gun barrel or IED and then see how they react.

  14. Chris

    @ Matt D

    Sublime, just sublime.

    Now tell me about the lady-boys... fascinating creatures...

  15. Tom Paine

    Is it just me, or...

    It's rather depressing that at the time of writing there are eight comments showing, all suggesting better ways to destroy the incriminating evidence.

    Surely the right solution to the problem is not to be in possession of evidence of war crimes that for some reason you feel unable to pass along to the military police in the first place? Hmmm? If you accidentally *do* find that you've surrendered your right to make autonomous ethical and moral judgements in the name of following orders, then perhaps you are in fact bound by the oath you swore to the Queen to "betray" the alleged murderers by, e.g., passing the evidence to the MP.

    Or am I being a hopelessly naive liberal pissant or something?

  16. Jeff Rowse

    "Personal Laptops"

    Neither of the two machines were, according to the El Reg article, MoD property. In which case the worst they can do is fine him for littering.

    Besides, he has told the MoD where they are - if they want to recover the data, they can always send the Royal Nay (or what's left of it) to seach - on-the-job training, and all that.

  17. Daniel

    There's a kind of upside down logic, at work, here

    "Stick all your sensitive documents on a portable computer because it's easier to destroy them by throwing the machine into the sea, later on." In addition to Varne Bank and Goodwin Sands, international shipping will soon have to start looking out for Toshiba Shoal, cape Viao, and the trecherous Pavilion Archipelago.

    If you ever see a man staggering aboard a cross-Channel ferry carrying a System 390, you'll know that we've adopted this strategy, where I work!

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    I say....

    ....string the Bugger up for violation of the WEEE directive.

    Paris because she knows how to toss away sensitive material.

  19. Dabooka

    I'd rather they did that...

    then leave them ON the ferry, tubes, buses etc etc.....

  20. Ian

    I thought...

    the standard method of disposing of kit with sensitive information on it was to leave it on a train. If the trains aren't running I believe leaving it on the front seat of a car in a pub car park is also acceptable.

    Oh, hang on. It says it's a personal laptop. In that case I suppose he can dispose of it how he likes, though I think there are rules about polluting the Channel that may come into play. Personally I go for the "remove HDD and apply hammer repeatedly" method of data destruction. Once it's in about 50 bits sweep them up, throw half in the bin this week and keep the other half for next week. Let's see an identity thief reassemble that lot and read the data!

    ...mine is the one with some bits of scrap disk drive in the pocket

  21. Ian Ferguson
    Thumb Down

    I wonder if the laptop had a solid state drive?

    If so, I'd be tempted to go trawling :)

  22. Anonymous Coward

    @Matt D

    A priceless Alan Partridge reference. Nice one.

  23. Anonymous Coward

    @Matt D

    Did it bounce off a rock before going in?

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    a title is required

    Isn't dumping plastic in the ocean illegal?

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is this...

    ...the military version of leaving the laptop on a bus?

  26. Christoph

    So does that mean

    Great Cthulhu has all our defence plans?

  27. Joe

    Intelligence officer?

    This must be some new meaning of the word 'intelligence' that I'm not familiar with.

  28. Keith T
    Black Helicopters

    Zero honesty = Zero ability to be an officer

    First off, Captain James Rands should be "former Captain James Rands" by now.

    He's basically admitted he has no sense of moral perspective, no honesty, and thus has zero leadership capabilities.

    Being such a hopelessly transparent lier doesn't help either.

    After sacking, he should be charged with obstruction of justice.

    And then the broader enquiry should proceed.

  29. EdwardP

    Oh the hypocrisy...

    "The government is opposing the call for a judicial review of the 'Battle of Danny Boy'."

    How strange. Didn't this very Government champion the "If you've nothing to hide, you've nothing to fear" philosophy?

    Have we got something to hide? Somebody at the top obviously thinks so.

  30. Kwac
    Thumb Down

    @Henry Wertz

    "I don't expect soldiers to be 100% "precision" when they are ambushed."

    You seem to have missed to words central to the story regarding the ambush and those killed - 'after' and 'captives'.

  31. Lol Whibley
    Thumb Down


    was featured on radio four weeks ago. why weren't paraphrasing them? they had a much more interesting take than the graun.. fingers not fast enough?

    please reg, pick it up a bit.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Disposal of toxic waste in the marine environment isn't an offense?

  33. N


    Almost a certainty, after all, he showed tremendous iniative in the face of adversity by acting above and beyond the call of duty to protect his regiments good name & MOD property.


    Although he probably disposed of the laptop in a slightly more secure manner than those who have to 'leave it on the train' to get a new one.

  34. Martin Lyne

    One acronym for you


  35. The Fuzzy Wotnot
    Thumb Down


    I am a UK tax payer and I assume that as this was most likely MOD property ( personal equipment means it was most likely bought minus VAT through "the company" for business, just like we all do ), then I want "my" laptop back please?

    Sick of the UK gov wasting my money bailing out defaulting tinpot dictators and subsidising scum like wacky J and her wanky husband. Get the next lot in, at least they might go the first 6 months without a scandal, while they find their feet!

  36. Anonymous Coward


    Anyway sounds like we might need to question this guy about where the missing Bush e-mails REALLY are.

    Either that or get him to take care of our nuclear waste like the Royal Navy's Sub service takes care of theirs :) *ohhhhhh zinggggggg*

    *Angry mob in tow*

    /Anon so the Brits can't find me :)

    love ya guys

  37. Ascylto

    Oh no ...

    does this mean that even the fish are now 'Vista capable'?

    Cod help us!

  38. David

    Computer rights v Human rights

    Seems to me that you can toss your laptop into the sea if you like, as there is no such thing as 'computer rights'. On the other hand, what about the human rights of those who ambush British soldiers ? In my opinion, when you choose to ambush a British soldier, you choose to surrender YOUR human rights at the same point, therefore expect to be dead soon !! If the soldiers kill you slowly, it can only serve as a warning to others that these guys won't pat you on the head and tell you to do better next time !! It's not his fault, he was raised as a Bin Liner and is full of shit !!

    For me, this also applies to my home. You enter my home for some illegal reason and without proper invitation, you leave your human rights outside on the pavement. I WILL hurt you severely and if you die, I will simply float you down the river and let the next town have the problem of sorting out who you are !

    Not PC, am I. But, it has all gone too far. Time to wipe the shite off the arse of humanity!!!!!

  39. call me scruffy

    @Ian & @kwak


    All depends on who killed the captives, I doubt an ambushing force get any precision at all when attacking a mixed group, in that case the worst you can say is that the army failed in a duty of care.


    You shouldn't have hard disc scraps in your coat pockets, you should have it stashed down one of your trowser legs to be discretely dropped on your lunchtime stroll...

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    losing it

    the standard excuse for losing something that is protectively marked is "it flew off a channel ferry". You've no idea how many times this excuse has been used in the past in ukgov when important things are found to be missing. I'm sure this officer will be charged with a OSA breach because he's admitted he had 'work stuff' on a personal laptop.

    Has anyone checked the recently dug over rose beds in the officers garden?

    Paris because she would be too classy to lose it on a cross channel ferry.

  41. Charles Smith

    Send in the Fleet

    10 Downing Street today denied rumours that it was sending the entire Royal Navy Fleet to retrieve the missing Laptop. Apparently they cannot remember where they parked the Frigate.

  42. DonaldTwain

    @ david, Computer rights v Human rights

    If you are happy to kill someone entering your home, why does this logic not apply to the Iraqi people whose home country and sometimes houses have been entered 'illegally and without proper invitation' by UK/US troops?

    Is it because only your own and 'British Soldier's' perspectives count in your warped ethical scheme? And is that because you are a daft racist?

    Thought so.

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