The Bloody Sunday report is no cue for whataboutery

In advance of the Saville report, old soldiers and others seem to be forming ranks as a pressure group, courtesy of the Daily Telegraph, against prosecuting any of the former paratroops. This is a tactical error and premature, to say the least.  While self-incrimination is ruled out, it may  be argued that the publication of the evidence against them in such copious detail of itself makes a fair trial unfeasible.   Paul Bew may be right, that the very detail of Saville’s report will act as a protective shield against inevitable criticism.

Some of the comments from the retired brasshats are plain foolish. Why nor prosecute Martin McGuinness and lots more IRA they ask? Not for want of trying in the old days, old chaps. It might also be acknowledged that about 20,000 republicans passed through the portals of one prison or another, while between 12 and 20 regular soldiers were prosecuted. This doesn’t make the case for blatant discrimination, but it demolishes the ludicrous implication that somehow the IRA got off scot free.

Anxiety over a decision on prosecutions is bound to be high and can only be complicated by an orgy of whataboutery.  While many people will jib at Martin McGuinness saying it, the emphasis in Derry on asserting the innocence of the victims over the guilt of the paratroops is mature and magnanimous, if Eamonn McCann’s article in the Irish Times is at all representative .

By contrast, Ken Clarke’s description of the Saville report as ” a disaster in terms of times and expense ” is ill-timed and insensitive. Clarke has done nothing to help David Cameron strike the right note tomorrow.  Does the  Lord Chancellor not realise that a new Inquiries Act was passed five years ago precisely to contain the length of future inquiries? The note to strike is that, 38 years on and a dozen years since the GFA, we’re all in this together, to coin a phrase.

  • EyeontheNorth

    Knee-jerk reactions can happen here on both sides unfortunately. Ken Clarke is an example of this. I didn’t hear every word he said on the matter, but he seemed to be criticising the sheer length and expense of the report, saying that other such inquireys should never take that long or cost that much again.
    Nothing wrong with this desire, but Saville is such a sacred cow that any comments like this can be jumped upon. However, the sickening whataboutery in the weekend’s British press is a huge mistake, and only serves to fire up sectarian unionist politicos, who would support the British Armed Forces if it was discovered they ate babies for breakfast.
    Headlines and quotes such as: “What about Bloody Friday”, etc, are incredibly ill-judged. The IRA were a terrorist organisation, while the Paras were members of the British Army. In a sense, it is expected that terrorists are going to kill innocent people, and therefore expensive inquireys are in many cases pointless, unless it is believed the security forces were involved somehow. Criminal trials should satisfy those seeking justice for IRA victims, although seeing Provos released under GFA is no doubt a bitter pill.
    However, to start ‘whatabouting’ only serves to equate the IRA and the Provos. If Saville-style reports were suitable for IRA atrocities, it’s like saying the IRA were a legitimate armed service who need investigating to find out ‘what went wrong’.
    It’s time for the right-wing press, the Army themselves, and the unionists to realise that what happened on Bloody Sunday, if not outright murder, was certainly unlawful killings, as none of the victims were armed, and were wholly innocent.
    If, as some like to claim, the Paras were shot at first, then killing so many people and missing the ‘gunmen’ entirely was a colossal cock-up, and some form of disciplinary justice needs to be done to the Paras who pulled the triggers on that horrible day.
    Sadly, all I’m expecting is the likes of Gregory Campbell et all pronouncing that the Paras were actually heros, while the Civil Rights marchers were secretly slaughtered by McGuinness wielding a sniper rifle from a rooftop in a bid to get worldwide sympathy. I mean, it’s not like the British army have ever fucked-up anywhere else in the world have they Greg and co?

  • EyeontheNorth

    First line 4rth para should read: “However, To start ‘whatabouting’ only serves to equate the IRA and the British Army.” Apologies…too much coffee.

  • Cynic

    “By contrast, Ken Clarke’s description of the Saville report as ” a disaster in terms of times and expense ” is ill-timed and insensitive. ”

    still…..it is true

  • “Why nor prosecute Martin McGuinness and lots more IRA they ask? Not for want of trying in the old days, old chaps. … somehow the IRA got off scot free”

    Brian, you seem to be unfamiliar with the tactic that certain paramilitary wrongdoing could be observed by members of our policing and justice system but action required political clearance. The ‘good’ loyalist and republican paramilitaries were to all intents and purposes the untouchables and, it would appear, they still are. Agents of the British and Irish states would mostly have fallen into the untouchable category too.

  • Skintown Lad

    Eyeonthenorth, your post sums up my feelings exactly. It is to re-enforce the integrity of the British Establishment that we have inquiries, not to undermine it. I only wish my fellow unionists would get the point, instead of engaging in the (very tempting) whataboutery we’re seeing.

  • vanhelsing

    EOTN,

    I find myself surprised to agree with some of your thoughts:) not all, but some.

    Would seek to clarify one point,

    ——–‘The IRA were a terrorist organisation, while the Paras were members of the British Army – iIn a sense, it is expected that terrorists are going to kill innocent people, and therefore expensive inquireys are in many cases pointless, unless it is believed the security forces were involved somehow. Criminal trials should satisfy those seeking justice for IRA victims, although seeing Provos released under GFA is no doubt a bitter pill’———

    The whole Bloody Friday thing is a reaction by Unionists who feel aggrieved that all this money and time has gone into this report [which undoubtedly opens up old wounds] and yet so many IRA atrocities are forgotten.

    I do hope however that the BS report assuages in some part the pain felt by the family members of innocent victims within the nationalist community.

    What sticks in my throat is that some people [on this site] think that the IRA were the heroes and the Brits were the terrorists; explain that to the civilian families of the Poppy Day Massacre – a nice clean IRA op.

  • David Dee

    I believe that much of this ‘whataboutery’ is nothing more than a feeble excuse to cover up for the fact that there was a huge cock-up without any plan B.

    The original plan (Wacko Jackson’s ?) was for the Army to fire a round of shots to try to flush out the IRA members (whom Wacko thought would be there in droves) and when the fire was returned then a planned route through the crowd was to be followed by the ‘elite’ ‘taking out’ anyone they thought was an IRA member.

    However there was no fire returned. This unsettled the ‘elite’ but they continued with plan ‘B’ anyway. The only problem was that there was now no way of covering up the civilian casualties which could have been blamed on the return of fire.

    In this state of confusion and without a clear plan the ‘elite’ lost control and killed the innocent British subjects..

    However now is not the time for revenge. I believe that what is required is for the guilty soldiers to express remorse, Cameron to issue an immediate and unqualified apology to the family and relatives of those killed and injured and talks to begin on the amount of compensation that will now need to be paid to these people who have suffered so much.

    I would let Wacko (who took 30 years to realise that he had not killed terrorists and issue an apology) keep his promotion if only as a sign of the guilt that he carries for the happenings on that day.

  • EyeontheNorth

    If I was a unionist of the sort involved in this whataboutery bullshit, I shouldn’t feel aggrieved about the cost of the report. I’d certainly be questioning why it’s so high and took so long, but I’d believe the truth had to be established at whatever cost.
    If there was a few trigger-happy Paras who got carried away by (totally understandable) fear, uncertainty, or even hatred of ‘paddies’ (obviously less understandable) on that day, then I would want answers and the bad apples removed from my beloved armed forces ASAP. I certainly wouldn’t ignore the fact that a massacre of innocents took place that day – which I think is one of the most shameful attitudes of certain unionist politicians to this day.
    And if unionists are pissed that the victims of IRA atrocities are being ‘forgotten’, then it’s up to them to keep their memories alive. I would think it would send a message to unionists that if the British establishment is ‘forgetting’ these innocent people, then perhaps the Brits aren’t as interested in Ulster as some would like to think….just maybe.
    You seem to understand that what happened on Poppy Day required arrests, prosecutions and heavy sentences for the murderers involved (sadly I believe no-one was prosecuted), not expensive tribunals and inquiries.
    No-one expected the IRA to do anything but slaughter and maim without giving a flying fuck for innocents caught in the crossfire, but the fact is this, the British Army should’ve known better on Bloody Sunday, and no amount of money or time is too much in order to find out what went wrong, if the army is to justify its right to be active here, at home, or in other parts of the world.

  • Hopping the Border

    Excellent Post EOTN

  • “The IRA were a terrorist organisation, while the Paras were members of the British Army.”

    True, but if any good is to come out of the tragedy which is Bloody Sunday, it is we all wake up to the fact that organisations like the IRA and the British army all wear very similar shoes.

    When politicians, maybe even with the best of reasons or intentions, send young men to war, these solders descend into a gutter of filth. When fools go on about our boys etc they are spouting dangerous nonsense. For the fact is if these folk saw how most solders behave in a theatre of war, they would not recognise them as ‘our boys’ but would be terrified.

    From the fields, cities and towns of Normandy, to the north of Ireland, on to Iraq and Afghanistan, indeed where ever a war rages and which ever army is involved, the main victims are civilians, children, women, old folk, etc, and in recent years we seem to have lost sight of that fact

    I am not saying solders do not ever act in a brave and honourable way, it happens and at times, a nation has no alternative but to turn to arms, although when they do we must be dam certain we are on the side of the saints.

    I find it extremely relevant and somewhat heartening, that whether it was British troops on the streets of the north, or in Iraq and Afghanistan, a large section of the British people were against it.

    As to the British generals etc whom Brian mentions, they are looking at a worst case scenario, and in the process covering their collective arses and lining up some lowly squadies for the drop.

    Jimmy Duddy when talking to McCann summed this up well for me.
    “It was only towards the end of the inquiry that I began to think about Saville and the other judges and the burden that has been placed on their shoulders. I saw on TV the day American troops took over a school in Iraq and killed 13 or 14, some of them children of five or six. All these people were supposed to have been firing, but there wasn’t one bullet mark on the school. My mind went automatic – they’re fucking lying, they murdered those people. This was Fallujah. So the burden on Saville is not just to finish the deeds of Bloody Sunday, but to send a message out to every other army in the world that if you put your troops in a peace situation, you’re liable to the law if they kill. The military everywhere must be made to know that they are going to be accountable.”

  • Cynic

    “a unionist of the sort involved in this whataboutery”

    did Unionists invent it?

    What aboutwhataboutery?

  • EyeontheNorth

    It blows my mind how Gregory Campbell can sleep at night! Just saw him on Newsline talking about how Saille is the most expensive ‘re-write of history’.
    What the fuck are you talking about Greg?? This whole Saville release is at least finally exposing certain politicians and commentators for what they really are.
    Gregory may have been there nearby on the day with other fellow ‘young loyalists’ because he was genuinely concerned about the IRA ‘taking over’ the march and unleashing hell, but if he cannot admit to himself now…in 2010…that the reason he had those beliefs was down to scaremongering, sectarian bigots (Paisley etc), then he isn’t fit to stand as an MP.
    That rabble-rousing lie was a means to deny catholics and nationalists civil rights, (however the foolish IRA were also playing into their hands by getting violent in the first place), and there’s no doubt that this scaremongering would have made the soldiers more edgy about what they were facing that day.
    Does Gregory honestly believe that the people who dies that day were somehow ‘not innocent’? Does he not believe in law and order at any cost? Crimes like Bloody Sunday should be explored no matter how expensive.
    No-one can say they aren’t upset at how much money this cost (and surely the ‘Saville Row Millionaire’ lawyers could have maybe donated some of the millions they got to victims groups, good causes etc.)
    But unionists, don’t forget just how serious an incident BS was….it was a unique event in Western Europe at the time, it was bound to cost millions anyway being so complex, but don’t blame the families or those wanting justice. Also, don’t let blind bigotry get in the way by indulging in ‘whataboutery’. Yes, each and evry IRA death deserves to be investigated fully,and justice be done, but getting pissed off because ‘themmuns’ are getting a lot of attention and judicial sympathy of a sort, is part of what caused the problems surrounding the march that day in Derry.
    Any soldiers prosecuted as a result, should be prosecuted, but not jailed, and should be tried anonymously for their own safety. Then they should be allowed to walk free from court,and go and be allowed to finish their lives in peace. We need tomove on after this, and just as all paramilitary prisoners were freed, so should the soldiers who did wrong be spared jail.
    It may be a pretty fucked-up way to deal with people guilty of gunning people to death, but this is Northern Ireland…we do things differently here, so leave us to it.

  • Big Maggie

    Can somebody please remind me how many Paras were injured that day?

    The dog ate my notes.

  • anne warren

    We need to make some crucial distinctions when considering the possible outcome of the Saville report. First: if (London)derry is part of the UK, why was the protest march banned? Given long-sanctioned rights to free speech, protest and so on? Or do these only pertain on the mainland? Second, if we accept (London)derry is part of the UK, we have to ask why were 14 UK citizens killed by the British Army when holding a protest march? Third, if we believe that (London)derry is not part of the UK,we have to ask why 14 foreign citizens were killed when holding a protest march. Fourth, in holding an enquiry into what happened on Bloody Sunday we are investigating the behaviour of the British Army, which is one of the legal Forces of the UK, the others being the RN, RAF, TA and so on. We are not investigating the behaviour of an ilegal insurrectionary group, such as the IRA. I suggest that for various reasons, the most obvious being legal vs illegal, that they cannot be compared.

  • joeCanuck

    There are a number of really sensible thought out comments on here, for example EyeontheNorth’s and David Dee’s.
    Unfortunately, although there ideally should be no whataboutery tomorrow, the practitioners of that art will be out in force.
    The squaddies are not the monsters here, it was those who planned and executed (literally) the plan that day who should be held to account. I’m trusting that Saville will do that. Hopefully he will also have something not very nice to say about Widgery.

  • Unfortunately Edward Heath is dead.I thought Warrenpoint was retribution for Bloody Sunday .. I don’t think you’ll get any more.

  • PaddyReilly

    I have had the benefit of listening to the opinions of my learned friend the noble Lord Savile of Newdigate, at a speech he gave on the topic in Staple Inn in London.

    Basically his conclusion might be termed Widgery II. Sure there was wrong on both sides. The authorities in Derry were in desperate straits because a huge amount of damage that had done to the City centre during rioting.

    I was appalled. How can you talk in this matter about something that is sub-judice, and flaunt your conclusions before you have finished hearing the evidence?

    But of course, an enquiry is not a judicial process, and those who conduct them are always told what their conclusions will be.

    I suspect that there will be a lot of disappointed victims by tomorrow,

  • joeCanuck

    A few more details would give credibility to your story; date for example.

  • I have been taking it for granted the families of the victims will have been given sight of the reports conclusions before it is released to the general public later today.

    Am I mistaken in this?

  • midulsterunionist

    Were these innocent civilians not taking part in an illegal parade? Had the people of the bogside not effectively staged an armed rebellion in the days and months previous to the Bloody Sunday effectively making a part of Ulster a no go area to unionist citizens? Had soldiers and RUC officers alongside protestants not been murdered in Londonderry in the days and months prior to the march?

    Oh but don’t worry as long as it’s all the brits fault it’s ok, truth is these people were breaking the law and while some might not have deserved such a punishment it doesn’t make them innocent… they were breaking the law by protesting illegally.

  • Big Maggie

    “The squaddies are not the monsters here”

    Certainly not!

    “The kid was down so I finished him off with one to the back of the head, like I was trained to. Just doin’ my job, ma’am.”

  • Big Maggie

    “truth is these people were breaking the law and while some might not have deserved such a punishment it doesn’t make them innocent… they were breaking the law by protesting illegally.”

    True! We can’t have those illegal protests in our fine land, now can we?

    In addition to the violence the Orange Order has held many illegal parades and members of the Orange Order have blocked many roads across the region. Attempts have also been made to block the access roads to the Catholic Garvaghy Road but the RUC have moved the people involved off the road. The Catholic village of Dunloy was ‘beseiged’ by over 1,000 Orange men on Tuesday 7 July 1998 with all access routes blocked and the main Belfast to Coleraine road was also blocked. In a statement the County Antrim Grand Lodge said that its members had “taken up positions” and “held” the village.

    Should the RUC and army have shot a few of those less-than-innocent people dead? Oh, my mistake. They were the Good Guys, weren’t they? No uppity taigs there.

  • PaddyReilly

    It is some years now; I can’t find the date; but you will see tomorrow no doubt what I am talking about.

    Or possibly he will surprise us all.

  • vanhelsing

    no you’re not it will be pre-released to them…

  • midulsterunionist

    I don’t recall the orange order holding any illegal parades… maybe you can enlighten me to some examples that aren’t just in the republican imagination. The only people who blocked the garvaghy road was the residents group themselves… even though most of the residents in the residents group weren’t even from the garvaghy road… The RUC moved them off the road because they were protesting illegally against a parade that was perfectly legal and they were attempting to stop of group of mostly elderly men returning from their place of worship on the sabbath day… because they went out of their way to be offended. As for Dunloy… it is a perfect example of what happens when republicans gain a majority, those men aren’t even allowed to walk to church to give thanks to God, But what Orange parades that have happened within the last 10 years or so have to do with an illegal protest in the 1970’s is beyond me

  • joeCanuck

    They are trained killers. I think that’s what people expect of the highest trained soldiers. They should never have been deployed in the streets in our own country in those circumstances. As I said, look to the leaders. They are the ones to blame.

  • EyeontheNorth

    Congrats midulsterunionist, on providing the finest example of unionist ignorance and stupidity I have ever read on Slugger. You are a cockroach of a man, you truely are.
    Where to start? OK, they are breaking the law by holding an ‘illegal’ march. It’s not like they were marching to celebrate a centuries old defeat of catholics….they were demanding civil fucking rights!! If anyones at fault it’s the state for making such a march illegal.
    And wasn’t it the Orange Order who were told that they couldnt parade in 2005, so totally defied the law and order that you seem to think they hold dear, by picking up swords and weilding them against police and the army? Is that lawful behaviour?
    You even have me engaging in whataboutery now you scumbag! Anyway, back to BS, is the answer to this ‘illegal’ parade to start blowing away those parading? You truely have a black heart midulsterunionist.
    Just admit it….come clean…you hate taigs….you think the marchers deserved it for demanding civil rights when they should have realised how was in charge eh? Go on….tell the truth and shame the devil!

  • Big Maggie

    “I don’t recall the orange order holding any illegal parades”

    Nor I. Why do mention them? Did you follow my link by the way? That’s what links are for.

  • Big Maggie

    Sorry, EyeontheNorth, my comment was addressed to midulsterunionist. But I’m sure you knew that :^)

  • midulsterunionist

    Right so we are all agreed that they were breaking the law and not innocent civilians as you lied earlier, I find it amusing that you deride me and then accept that I was telling the truth… They were demanding civil rights that even working class protestants didn’t have, they were demandng a socialist state that the majority of citizens didn’t want, then went from town to town causing violence. The orange order despite what an phoblact might tell you don’t march to celebrate a victory over Catholics… most of Kind William III’s army was Roman Catholic and the Pope supported William finacially… so it would be a bit moronic to celebrate the battle of the boyne as some sort of Protestant vs Roman Catholic battle, Truth is according to the rules of the orange the 12th is a walk to a religious service in the field in order to give thanks to almighty God for all his help in the previous year and for the Glorious Revolution.

    “If anyones at fault it’s the state for making such a march illegal.” — by that logic if someone were to commit any crime it would be the state’s fault because if they didn’t have a law against it then it wouldn’t be wrong, so it’s not the persons fault for breaking the law instead it’s the state’s fault for making the law in the first place.

    “And wasn’t it the Orange Order who were told that they couldnt parade in 2005, so totally defied the law and order that you seem to think they hold dear, by picking up swords and weilding them against police and the army? Is that lawful behaviour?” — Is this the same place where the orange order didn’t parade the full route and then condemned the violence as being incompatable with orangeism? If it is why have you failed to mention the order’s condemnation of these riotous scenes and please tell me how the whiterock parade in 2005 had an effect on the events of Londonderry in 1972… unless of course you are trying to draw a parrallel between the orange’s demands for civil and religious liberty and those of the civil rights movement

    No i don’t hate Roman Catholics, just because someone doesn’t agree with the provos romaticised version of history doesn’t mean they hate republicans, I personally would say that no one should have been killed on Bloody Sunday but sadly some where… now just because I pointed out some facts on the criminality on the day concerning taking part in an illegal parade doesn’t mean I am stupid or ignorant or blackhearted… if anything your constant dancing about the subject of bloody sunday by dragging in everythin the Brits have done since is just showing how you view the unionist population, as little more than scapegoats. Now can we get back to the subject at hand or is the plantation going to be cited next as a reason Bloody Sunday happened… or maybe the drumcree protests in 1996 had an effect on Bloody Sunday as well?

  • midulsterunionist

    Because Big Maggie you mentioned in your post “the Orange Order has held many illegal parades” when in fact they haven’t….

  • Kevin McIlhennon

    MUU, If you’re going to say that simply because someone was engaged in ‘illegal’ activity then surely all those who manned barricades during the UWC strike should have been shot dead. Should they not? You DO hate Catholics and nationalists and, dare I say it, hark back to the Orange state of old where ‘those damn Fenians’ had no rights. The vast majority of the population of the north want to move forward to a shared future but you want to reestablish the Unionist state. You really are a sad person. I pity you.

  • midulsterunionist

    Play ball not the man, I do not support the deaths of anyone be they republican or unionist… which is more thna cna be said for some, No but those on th eUWC stirke were still breaking the law and are therefore criminals… anyone who breaks the law is a criminal… why is it unionists can say that but republicans seem to only allow blame to fall on the Brits? No once again I do not hate Roman Catholics and it might be nice for someone to give me a reaosn as to why you think I do apart form the point that i told the truth that you would rather bury… they did have rights and they were treated the same as the rest of the working class… though it would seem you think that in the 1960’s all prods were living in mansions and burning money for a laugh, here comes the “shared future mantra” where everyone has an equal part in Ireland… as long as you tow the line and don’t question the republican mythology of the past

  • midulsterunionist @11.31 am

    “Had soldiers and RUC officers alongside protestants not been murdered in Londonderry in the days and months prior to the march?”

    Not strictly correct. Sorry – this is obviously a gruesome line of reasoning, but the period from the beginning of 1971 to Bloody Sunday witnessed the following deaths (as per Sutton Index):

    7 Killed by British Army: 6 civilians (all Catholic), 1 IRA.
    9 Killed by IRA & PIRA or during rioting: 7 British Army (religion, if any, not recorded in Sutton Index), 2 RUC (1 Catholic, 1 Protestant)
    One killed by unknown.

    In 1970, the only fatalities recorded in Derry are IRA members.

  • “anyone who breaks the law is a criminal”

    Maybe in the eyes of the state, but thank Christ for those German criminals who gave shelter to the Jews in WW2, or those members of the French resistance who were branded criminal by Petan.

    Thanks to those trade unionist criminals from Toll Puddle, who broke the law to help improve the lives of others and those Irish men and women who took their stand in Dublin’s post office.

    You see, when criminals are making and enforcing the law, it is up to all of us to examine our consciences and take a stand.

    Who considers Nelson Mandela a criminal these days, not even those who sent him to jail it seems.

  • Kevin McIlhennon

    Erm MUU, I’m not toeing the line of the Republican community at all. Like you said yourself ‘play the ball’. And who said that it had to be an equal part of Ireland. Most Nationalists would accept the end to Unionist mythology of the past too. And perhaps you may want to change your tune after seeing the Saville Inquiry coming out.

  • midulsterunionist

    Saville inquiry has backed up what I said.. it was an illegal parade, no one should have been killed but some were…

    said that 10 minutes ago and did so for free…

  • Saville said they were all innocent and none of the killings were justified. Not what you are saying at all.

  • vanhelsing

    easy tiger….

  • midulsterunionist

    Saville said that Donaghy was probably carrying nail bombs, Martin McGuinness had a sub machine gun on the streets and another OIRA man fired upon the army vehicles… so how saville can find no justification is strange… it’s almost as though the whole inquiry was set up to get the answer republicans wanted

  • MUU – lets suspend disbelief and take your best case scenario – i.e. that Donaghy did have a nail bomb – McGuinness had a submachine gun – and the OIRA shot at an army vehicle. Which you imply should be justification enough for what happened (or as you say ‘ …so how saville can find no justification is strange…’ ).
    Saville states that whoever shot Donaghy would not have known whether he was carrying a nail bomb or not since it would have had to be so well hidden it wasn’t found by those who treated his gunshot wounds (it is only concluded he had it since the RUC claim that they found it on him is taken at face value despite the fact that there are discrepancies between the statements given by the two RUC officers and what was given as evidence in 1972).
    Saville accepts that McGuinness didn’t fire his gun and so that didn’t provide the remotest pretext for anyone to be shot (unless you think he ran around the Bogside waving at soldiers so they would shoot at unarmed civilians in front of him).
    Lastly, no-one even knew the OIRA had fired shots for about 30 years until they admitted it. No-one can even really work out the exact chronology of when the shots were fired and there is no evidence that the Paras believed they were under fire at that time at that location.

    The reason why Saville finds no justification is that he could not identify the context of a single shooting in which the Paras opened fire against a target posing them a sgnificant threat.

  • slug

    Having just listened to and watched the debate in the House on the Prime Minister’s statement, I think it was a very respectful and serious debate. I thought the Prime Minister spoke very wella properly to say sorry for what was clearly a great wrong, and the Northern Ireland MPs, SDLP, Alliance and DUP, all spoke on important points – the points of the DUP and others on the need for balance are important too and should not be brushed aside or dismissed as defensive reactions. Mark Durkan spoke very powerfully and emotionally and made one of his great contributions, and the respect for him felt by the house was plain and very correct.

    Furthermore, the Conservative and Labour and Lib Dem MPs, some of whom had served in the Armed Forces in Northern Ireland, but others who were there because of the importance of the topic, made some very sensible points. It is a good day that this report has come out and the matter is now established authoritatively. As the Prime Minister said, this is not an easy day for those of us who are proud of our country but he is right to say that it does not do our country, or our Army, a service to keep these matters under cover, and it it right to investigate and to say sorry when something was clearly wrong.

  • Ghost Bear

    “Who considers Nelson Mandela a criminal these days, not even those who sent him to jail it seems.”

    Actually if I recall correctly, at some point last year over on his blogsite David Vance branded Mandela a “socialist thug” who should be pushing up the grass….

  • Peter Fyfe

    Yes it is and he should rightly condemn Widgery’s lies and the future cost that clearing those lies brought upon the Brtish state.

  • David Dee

    Now that the saville report has vindicated the innocent victims is it not time to question Jackson further.

    I cannot refer to him as General because that implies responsibility and leadership, qualities that he may not even be able to spell but certainly qualities that he sadly missed out on.

    For 30 years he who was second in command on the day referred to the dead as terrorists and,cynically, only ‘saw’ the truthjust prior to publication of his book.

    This man should now be stripped of any army rights including his pension, should be arrested and tried in a court of law for his part in labelling these innocent british subjects as bomb-throwers and his true role in co-ordinating the original plan to ‘take out’ members of the IRA regardless as to the civilian casualities which he believed could have been blamed on IRA crossfire had they not outwitted him.

    Or maybe he will now write another book titled the Disgraced Soldier !!!!