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mapo returns

a great article on Jessica Lynch..debunks the BBC article..

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Saturday, May 17, 2003



Yesterday, the Command Post

<http://www.command-post.org/archives/007072.html> tipped me off about a story at the BBC regarding the rescue of American soldier Jessica Lynch in Iraq. It’s important that you first read the original BBC article right

here <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/corr...ent/3028585.stm>.


The BBC story may seem at first to be a simple bit of myth de-bunking.

However I have enormous doubts about its accuracy, due to something said within.


The BBC alleges that the rescue event was pretty much staged for the

cameras, and that the American troops fired blank ammunition during the rescue in order to make things seem more dramatic for the benefit of the cameras.


"It was like a Hollywood film." Said interviewed witness, Dr Anmar Uday, who worked at the hospital. "They cried 'go, go, go', with guns and blanks without bullets, blanks and the sound of explosions. They made a show for the American attack on the hospital - action movies like Sylvester Stallone or Jackie Chan." The BBC has accepted this witness as reliable without cross examining his story.


Now, a few firearms facts for the uninitiated.


American troops use three main infantry weapons.


First, there is the M16A2, a modern derivative of the old Vietnam era M16.


Secondly, there is the M4 carbine, a shortened version of the M16, often

used by special forces troops.


Third, there is the Minimi Light Machine Gun.


None of these weapons can be converted from firing blanks to live, or back again, in a speedy manner.


Blank ammunition, when fired in these three weapons, is not powerful enough to force the weapons mechanism through its full cycle of operations. Because there is no live projectile, the build up of gas in the barrel is much less. When the weapon fires, there is no way that the mechanism will re-cock and chamber a fresh round.


Fire a blank round, and the weapon will stop firing after the first round

is expended.


This would clearly be a daft situation when training with blank ammunition, so for training situations, a blank firing attachment (BFA) is used. The BFA consists of a cumbersome mechanical device bolted on to the end of the barrel. This restricts the amount of gas escaping, giving the weapon mechanism enough power to re-cock and re-chamber.


The BFA is awkward to get into place and even more difficult to remove.

Frequently, it requires the use of pliers or some similar tool to affect

its removal. After pro-longed firing with blank ammunition, the BFA is so

hot that it must be left to cool before it can be removed.


This has a safety advantage in infantry training. It makes it much harder to confuse live ammunition with blank.


Now, back to the BBC report.


According to their witness, blanks where fired during the assault for

dramatic effect.


If this where so, the American troops would be put in an awkward situation. Suppose, in the midst of this staged event, some Iraqi troops or Fedayeen irregulars appeared? How would they defend themselves? Clearly, converting the weapons from blank to live, in the heat of a battle, would be disastrous. It would take, at best, 2-3 minutes to remove a BFA, then vital more seconds in order to replace the belt or magazine of blank ammunition with live. In the dark, it would be very easy to get the blank and live rounds mixed up, too.


It is very hard to imagine how any Special Forces soldiers would agree to enter a combat zone with their weapons primed for blank ammunition.


Things are looking bad for the BBC’s story, but it gets worse. Much worse.


The BFA is large and brightly coloured. It’s a safety feature; a visible

way of proving in training that no one is pointing live ammunition at you

by mistake.


I don’t have the video footage of the rescue to hand, but I do recall

seeing it. I didn’t see any weapons sporting BFAs.


Furthermore, fired blank shell casings look very different to live ones.

Blank shell casings have a crimped end to them that is still clearly

visible after the round is fired and discarded. So if the BBC wants to

prove its story, it can visit the scene of the rescue and produce some

discarded blank shell casings. Unless, it wants us to believe that the

American troops picked them all up. In the dark. Behind enemy lines. In a war zone.


So how do blank rounds work in the movies? Well, the weapons used are not real. They are specially produced replicas, often based on the mechanism of a real weapon, with the barrel partially sealed. They cannot fire live ammunition under any circumstances whatsoever. This is how film makers create realistic scenes of automatic firing without attaching a BFA to the end of the weapon.


Clearly, no one will be carrying that sort of a 'weapon' into a combat



So what does this mean to overall importance of the BBC’s story?


Well, the BBC's witnesses cannot be trusted.


And the BBC has made a huge error that a couple of quick phone calls could have put right.


The BBC may be guilty of seeing what it wants to see in another area too.


Early on in the story they make the astonishing statement that "Witnesses told us that the special forces knew that the Iraqi military had fled a day before they swooped on the hospital."


According to the BBC, the witnesses somehow magically know what American Special Forces knew or thought. How they managed this effort of mental telepathy is not explained.






Staging Versus Ignorance

Well, my blogfather <http://www.windsofchange.net/> had to keep pushing, and bringing up other points in regards the story that claimed that the rescue of Pvt. Lynch had been staged strictly for morale. As usual, he does bring up some good points that merit fuller discussion.


Where we both agree is on how you send people into a situation like that. You don't tempt fate, and you don't trust that all the bad guys have gone. Even if you suspect that they have, you still don't take chances.


That means that you send in the people who can do the job, the special

forces. You have them armed with live ammo, not blanks as it is reported that the Baghdad Broadcasting Company is claiming/is going to claim soon. You find a locked door, you don't knock, but blow it per training. You secure, sort, and cope.


Which leads to the clueless reporter hypothesis. I have written on this

before, on his blog, about the undeclared war between The Media and the military. In many journalistic circles, it is quite fashionable and proper to be willfully ignorant of the military. To go to great lengths to avoid learning anything about them and how they operate. They are the murderous, almost sub-human barbarians, after all, who CHOSE to be soldiers.


That attitude is one reason the embeds were a brilliant stroke. It is

doubtful that you truly got too many of that school out with the real

front-line troops. Yet, all the embeds – even Ted Koppel – got a much

better understanding of the troops, how they operate, and what is and is

not done.


Which brings us back to the particular reporter in question. Was he just

ignorant of how such things are done? Could he be one of those moronic

fools who thinks that you could just slip in a small team like modern

ninjas, so that they could check out everything and then just spirit her



I find that hard to believe, though I do have to acknowledge it as a

possibility. After all, there are those out there who believe that in the

midst of a gun battle that someone with a snub-nose revolver (or comparable auto) can get pinpoint accuracy and shoot so as to disable a

perpetrator/enemy without killing them or doing lasting damage to their

body. There are those who think the special forces really are ninjas who

can sneak in, go across ceilings, and move undetected throughout buildings and such even though they are dressed different, talk different, armed, and more. There are also those who believe in the tooth fairy too.


The story, and the way it was put together, just doesn't add up for me. Not on many levels, and in particular not on the ignorance angle. There appears to have been too much time spent in setting up points, in not-so-subtle innuendo and implication, for this to have been the complete result of ignorance. If this was indeed written in the aftermath of the liberation of the town, it would also imply a certain familiarity with military operations. Even if not, almost everyone on the planet has had some exposure to rescue operations through news, broadcast media, or even popular books.


No, this one comes across as nothing more than a deliberate smear campaign. An attempt to start something that it now appears others may be willing to pick up. The BBC report seems to quote one or two of the same sources, and I would love to know if this guy helped or advised on the BBC program.


This really, to me, is adding up to the big lie. Tell something in the

worst way possible, imply or infer that really bad things happened and/or that it was a sham on one or more levels, and trust the doubt to grow. The absence of checks and balances is a clue, but it is just one of many.


No, I am afraid I don't see much innocent in this. Ignorance may well be

part of it, but I don't think it is simple ignorance of the military and

how things are done.

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Nice to see some oppisition to the story but I still believe many thing that the bbc reported. Thank You. It is this type of shit that pisses me off about the U.S. gov.

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Originally posted by JimmieWalker

I still believe many thing that the bbc reported.


Well thats your choice. Im just curious, what parts do you believe, and why do you believe them?

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I believe that the Media/Government only release enough information to to the public to let there imaginations run wild. For example a lady at my work wouldent stop talking about how jessica lynch got raped and was tortured. Obviosly not true but the media/Government sure hope that that was true inorder to better villify a enemy that we are at war against. Any thing to make the enemy look evil WILL get reported or broadcast so that americans can feel better about the whole situation, be it true or not. I just don't have any trust i guess.

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Another thing that neither article mentioned was about the 11 body’s found in the hospital. If you run with information that was provided by the media you might think that they were taken there and killed, and body’s left on the floor where they died. Do we know if the soldiers were even killed at the hospital? Now I don't know what really happened but did any one think that when you are in a war situation like that you have to dispose of body some where and the morgue at a hospital would happen to be the right place to do so. All i am saying is that the body’s ,yes were found in the hospital and the U.S. had to be recovered somewhere and I think if the body were in the morgue the Iraqis did the right thing in that instance.




Please believe that I am not not not an Iraqi sympathizer I just don't believe shit that the government tells me.

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Originally posted by suburbian bum

I still beleive BBC. That article you posted mapo wasnt too convincing.


You are a smart person.

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Guest BROWNer

the bbc has/will definitely benefit from such a story, but would

they be THAT irresponsible considering the play this would get for

just a few measly extra bucks?

hard to say.

regardless of both sides, i find it pretty amusing

that lynch has absolutely no recollection of any of it. the first

thing that pops into my head is that the DoD has gagged her.

if they did, why? all of a sudden this great operation

to save her swoops down, and she has amnesia all of a sudden.

without amnesia she'd be on every show in america.

who knows..this is the type of thing the US has gotten

itself into. it basically boils down to nobody buys their shit anymore becuz the double

standards, lies, coercion, and complete disregard for world

opinion and law is so regular, blatant and out in the open

that they are now in this hole with a massive credibility deficit.

i personally do not think it is that far fetched

that the DoD would stage this. the white house and pentagon know

that war coverage is at least half the battle. the whole thing with

embedded journalists and shit, this is stuff they have been working

on for years and years, they didn't just think it up a month or so

before this war. the white house and pentagon have operational

strategies, and these days a massive part of that is psychological

operations. wars are won in the minds of people, not on the battlefield.

to me this kinda stuff is entirely plausible from a logical standpoint.

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dont beleive everything you see, read, or hear.


that operation is classified and will be for sometime. so any reports from news agencies will be filtered. the whole story will come out eventually, just not at the moment.

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i dont know who to believe. i know most people on 12oz would much rather believe the BBC article. most people on here seem not to trust the government and would like nothing more than an article like this to prove their case.


im not saying its impossible, but when I read the BBC article it really struck me as odd that special forces would go ANYWHERE in Iraq only armed with blank ammunition. im not a military expert, but i knew alot of that stuff about the difficulty with modifying an M16 to shoot blanks, and that kind of stuff just doesnt happen.

imagine if theyd have entered shooting blanks, and there was Iraqi soldiers in there who of course would be shooting live ammo? Theyd kill the special forces, and the Iraqis would show the fraud on Al-Jazeera and the whole world would realize what happened - America would be caught with its pants down.


im not saying the goverment and media arent shady at times. and i dont think it was some huge daring rescue to get Jessica Lynch..the part about her having amnesia is a definite slap in the face to the intelligence of the American people which i dont like.


but overall i cant see them storming into a hospital shooting blanks or even shooting at an ambulance because they wanted to stage the scene. just dont see it. only a handful of people truly know.

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Guest ctrl+alt+del

The US Government is the Tom Sawyer of this shit.


wonk saggin.

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Guest BROWNer

wait a sec..

it's extremely likely the hospital would have been under

surveillance before and leading up to the

operation, with the building perimeter then secured with

armed forces..and its most likely they had some type of intelligence to work with,

either some signals intelligence or some communications intelligence or

just straight up human sources..

in either scenario this was probably the gist

of the operation...you and the bbc both leave the prelude

to the operation in who-knows-land..in either case, would the

US military really enter any possibly hostile facility with zero precautions?

you assume that basically they charged in with blindfolds on..

the joint was certainly cased.

i don't know, i think the whole thing about fake weapons and blanks

is a little hard to swallow, but the rest of it seems entirely

reasonable. the pro's for this type of thing far outweight the cons.

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A mighty fine query, albeit not mine.


How often does the US Special Forces conduct raids with a full camera crew in tow?

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Guest BROWNer

i had this convo with somebody at work actually..

we determined that it could be weird, but that it was

hard to make any conclusive adjudication becuz of

the likelihood of so many reporters in baghdad..

they were probably leeching around looking for

action. maybe not though.

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Originally posted by BROWNer

zero precautions?


zero precautions? no... however, with zero intel (but for the story told by the 'heroic doctor') at the time of launch, absolutely... fast scouts, perhaps on quad runners would speed ahead and provide a half-hour (ish) worth of intel, then the infantry would arrive in overwhelming strength (not that many people for a hospital... maybe 200)... special ops would take the point and they would proceed directly, with caution.


I also find it extremely unbelievable that the forces invaded armed with blanks. Too much risk.


I don't believe that the US forces shot at an ambulance, also, too much risk. If it is only 1 Ambulance then, there is only so much explosive, or so many people it could carry. The grim reality of war dictates that somebody must stop it and inspect. I could be bombs or Sadam with it all full of gold... or full of children (like the "suicide" atack on the US checkpoint)... (NOT that this was a checkpoint). I think the procedure would be to fire warning shots and try to get the vehicle to stop, if hand signals fail. If the vehicle refuses to stop, or is moving too quickly, it would be destroyed (With nothing smaller than a big .50 or a tank round). In ANY case, if the Ambulance approached the wire, then turned and fled, it would have been pursued... Still, assuming it was followed all the way home, how would the pursuers know if the casualty removed from the ambulance was an American soldier?


As for the memory loss, it is certainly DoD related, and should be expected. I'm willing to believe that she wasn't shot, OR, was hit by friendly fire during the incursion, but that couldn't happen if they were shooting blanks...

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just a sidenote: ROE dictates that no warning shots will be fired.

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Guest sneak

bbc vs us government...


i know who im going to believe..

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are you guys dumb?


this was the most pathetic attempt at debunking ive ever seen. did this guy write it drunk off budweiser in his trailer?

think of it logically. there were shots fired, no one denies that. it's part of 'protocol'. it's the system that over a hundred years, the army was worked to perfect, taking all possible scenarios into account. well, in the midst of all those late night, think-tank pizza parties, dont you think 'protocol' included contingency plans for situations such as this, where they're storming a civilian scenario? you cant run into a civilian envirnment, be it school, hospital, apartment complex, market, etc firing all willy-nilly into the walls, ceiling and floor, with live amo that could be tearing up children and employees. all it takes is ONE gun firing blanks for this story to be accurate. it is completely conceivable that a dummy riffle was packed in with the 800,000 pounds of standard weapons they shipped over. OR, if that is too much to believe, that they throw one these fancy BFA mechanism's on the end of the barrel, and used the incredible hush-hush UFB (ultra flat black) technology and painted the bright orange thing black.

wow, that was hard.


as far as the rest of the bullshit. according to the dr. which, agreed, is but one source, he had spoken with the americans and told them they had her, and they should come get her. it's not as if they were storming a hostile military hospital. it was a civilian hospital, filled with the civillians who were our 'friends' and who we were 'feeing' (by you know, dropping bombs on them and putting them in the hospital.) it doesnt take 'ninjas' to figure that out. 'but what if they were lying, and it was a set up'. well, since every hospital over there was chock full of red cross volunteers, it wouldnt be that hard to find out for yourself. or, hey, just use some of that fancy thermal imagine technology we used to find bands of troops hiding in the desert. not to mention, if the americans indeed felt it might be a hostile situation, would they really want it be filmed, live, for the world to see the outcome? suppose they accidentally killed a bunch of patients, and it was caught on tape. suppose they got cut to fucking pieces, and it was caught on tape. those arent the knds of chances our government takes.

but what about shooting at the ambulance. tht must be a lie, we wouldnt do that. oh wait, yes we would, and did, on several occasions. one group of iraqi's dressed up like civilians, killed some US soldiers, and all of a sudden every iraqi's was our enemy. their military threat just increased ten fold. (but thats another topic for another day).


really though, that whole shit was weak. it all hinged upon the idea that we would not send someone in shooting blanks. all the technical mumbo-jumbo dude threw out there is completely irrelivent. we admit to having concusion grenades that do not expell shrappnel, but are simply loud and dissorienting, why wouldnt we have riffles that are the same?

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Guest imported_El Mamerro

I find it funny that this article gets so much analyzing and critical thought, yet the original BBC one never did.

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who gives a fuck. the bitch lived.


what about the girl who is under 7 and watched both her parents get shot to death in the streets of her city while the murderer was not caught?


thought so.

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I understand what youre saying. However, the BBC article said 'they' were shooting blanks, so to make the story true you would need more than just one guy. The article certainly makes it seem as though 'they' meant the whole group.


Plus you point out we knew these hospital people were the friends we were freeing. I dont think Im reaching here when I say it easily could have been an ambush attempt, to ge the troops in the hospital to save a comrade at which point the Iraqi's blast them with a surprise attack.

Similar to when they had soldiers throwing white flags and when Americans went to get them they blasted them with a surprise attack.


But Seek, I think we're more on the same side. I do not think she was in some type of POW prison being tortured while Special Forces stormed in. But I also dont think the Special Forces would enter an Iraqi building with M16s modified to shoot blanks. Which makes me think if that wasnt true, what else from the story might not be true, which I think was all the writer of this article meant to do.


I do think the US Government saying Lynch has amnesia and doesnt remember anything is sad. Sad that they think the American public are stupid enough to believe that, and even sadder because they are for the most part. This whole Iraq thing has been the biggest slap in the face to the American publics intelligence in a long time.


We originally wanted to enter Iraq because they had WMD's and were harboring terrorists. Then when they realized there was a good chance they might not find WMDs, they said they want to free the Iraqi people.

Then they wanted 'regime change'. Its a bunch of shit. The government wants to protect Israel, not America, from Iraq. We also want their oil, we want a military base right there in the heart of the middle east, and George Bush has a personal vendetta against Hussein ever since Saddam supposedly tried to assassinate Bush Sr with a car bomb.


And we still havent found any WMD's..

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the use of the word 'they' could indeed mean just one person. if 5 guys ran into your house, and one guy was shooting a gun, would you say 'these guys ran into my house and one shot a gun' or would you say 'they came in shooting'? it comes down to semantics, but again, i think if you looked into military protocol you'd find that firing blanks is part of that protocol in certain situations.


our army would not even consider running up into a hospital, with a full news camera, if there was even a chance it might be an ambush. it would be waayyyy too much of a liability. i could go further into detail as to why they wouldnt, and how they could easily have checked it out, but if you think logically, i shouldnt have to. it just simply does not make any since. we didnt bring journalists onto the runway at the airport, we didnt bring them when we stormed schools, buildings, houses, etc, so why the hell would we take them into a potential ambush, if they thought it was a possibility? it defies logic.

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