Letter: Eight questions on 'friendly fire' money

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The Independent Online
Sir: I read your news item about the offer by William Perry, the US Secretary of Defence, of dollars 100,000 to the relatives of the British officers who were recently killed over Iraq by US 'friendly fire' (27 August). Were Parliament sitting, these are the questions I would be putting down:

1. What advice is our Ministry of Defence offering to the relatives?

2. Have the US authorities completed their inquiries, and what conclusions have they reached about the responsibilities of all those concerned for firing at the helicopters?

3. Are those responsible for these deaths to be prosecuted by the US authorities, as earlier reports indicated was possible?

4. Would acceptance of the dollars 100,000 being offered preclude the relatives from suing those who may be found responsible for the deaths?

5. Are similar offers of a similar sum being made to all the other victims, whether US nationals or non-US nationals?

6. Did the US authorities discuss Mr Perry's offer with the British authorities before making it and if so, did the latter gave their approval to the US approach to the relatives?

7. What pensions are British taxpayers due to pay to the dependants of those killed?

8. What law, according to the Government's legal advisers, is applicable: US or UK?

Yours faithfully,

KENNET

House of Lords

London, SW1

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