HET Report on Kingsmills

The News Letter today has details of the HET report into the Kingsmills massacre, the full report of which will be released to the families today.

From the News Letter:

On January 5, 1976, a Ford Transit minibus was carrying a mixed workforce of 16 home from work in Glenanne to Bessbrook. Five were Catholics and 11 were Protestants. Four of the Catholics got out at Whitecross, while the remainder continued on the road to Bessbrook.
As the bus cleared the rise of a hill, it was stopped by a man standing on the road and flashing a torch. As it stopped, 11 masked gunmen emerged from the hedges.
The workers assumed that they were being stopped and searched by an Army or RUC checkpoint, and when ordered to line up beside the bus, they obeyed.
At this point the lead gunman ordered the only Catholic, Richard Hughes, to step forward. Hughes’ workmates thinking that the armed men were loyalists who had come to kill him – tried to stop him from identifying himself. However, when Hughes stepped forward he was told to “get down the road and don’t look back”.
The remaining 11 men were shot with more than 100 rounds in less than a minute. Ten of them were killed outright while Mr Black survived despite having 18 gunshot wounds.
Nine of the dead were from the village of Bessbrook, while the bus driver was from nearby Mountnorris.

It is understood the massacre at Kingsmills was months in the planning giving the lie to the claims that it was in retaliation for the sectarian murder of Catholics the night before.

In the current climate of claims that Northern Ireland needs a truth commission etc. and suggestions that terrorists would cooperate with such a commission, it has to be remembered that the IRA have never admitted involvement. A group called the South Armagh Republican Action Force claimed the killings. However the weapons used in the murders were used in 110 other attacks, including the murder of five Orangemen at Tullyvallen, the killing of RUC officers, chief supt Harry Breen and supt Bob Buchanan, as well as the murder of victims campaigner Willie Frazer’s father. Unsurprisingly the HET found that the IRA was responsible for the atrocity and that the victims were targeted because of their religion.

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  • Limerick

    “So perhaps I might have put it better than “got the job done”, but one simply cannot deny that Kingsmill was the event that got everyone to think real hard about what in the hell was going on and so the killing of the random folks stopped for a while there. And brutal and ugly that, but better than some “acceptable level of violence” that ends up taking even more lives.”

    Slappymcgroundnut,

    Since the PIRA ceasefire only came about following a surge in loyalist violence, which saw them for the last few years of the Troubles kill more people than republicans, is it your contention that the murders they carried out were what ended the Troubles?

    Should we be grateful to them for saving so many lives since?

  • slappymcgroundout

    “Slappy

    You have piqued my curiousity…what happened to your grandmother’s family?”

    Brian, let’s just say that after the original expropriation of land there was a subsequent expropriation since not everyone was expropriated in the first instance (some didn’t originally think that some others were worth removing but later on their descendants had another view and did some removing). Those from grandma’s side didn’t do the expropriating but were given a part of the expropriated land to live on. Thereafter, those expropriated returned the serve and some were injured and two were killed. Grandma’s side of the family, well, you’ve heard the expression “country hicks” or “hillbilly”? That’s grandma’s side of the family, most of them anyway. Grandma wasn’t necessarily pleased that I had black American friends and so the word was, at one time, well, could I please not bring any home. Some things one never forgets. But her family has been in Kentucky for god knows how long, sometime way way way back when, as she could trace her family here in the US back to before the revolution.

    I don’t think it was really to get the land, since I’ve seen the land and it isn’t really all that good for farming. More a case of simply wanting to purge the remaining natives from one’s midst. And the kith and kin didn’t do that but took advantage of the aftermath and so they share in the guilt. The resolution when some came back to return the serve should have been, here’s your land back, but wasn’t. And I say that because it wasn’t like they didn’t have somewhere else to go, since what had happened was going from another plot of land with multiple families living on the plot in their own separate homes, went to less living there as some moved onto the newly “cleared” land, so they could have went back to the way it was before.

    On that note, I understand the folk on the Shankill exactly. At least the “prideful”. Don’t have a bucket to piss in, some of them, but that flag of Kentucky (and not the US) flies proudly. I never heard them refer to the US Civil War as anything, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they call it the War of Northern Aggression. I imagine that they hold onto that fierce pride since that’s about all they have.

    Lastly, for some others that I don’t hate, the Japanese. My grandma’s husband, at the time, was in the Army and stayed on as part of the occupation. Right after the war, the order was, don’t go eating and drinking at the local food and watering hole as they might poison your sorry ass. Someone thought that he knew better. He didn’t. So never had the occasion to meet grandpa as he was dead before I was even born. And I don’t condemn anybody and there is neither rancor nor bitterness towards the Japanese as a whole or any Japanese in particular. But worked out okay though, since one of the more enlightened folk from that part of northern Kentucky that grandma comes from, married my widowed grandma. By time I was in the picture he and grandma had moved to Columbus, Ohio. But being from northern Kentucky, well, the closest baseball team, right across the river from Kentucky, is the Cincinnati Reds. And that was back in the day before division realignment and so the Reds, during the 70s there, were the Dodgers division rival (my beloved Dodgers versus the Big Red Machine). So when I’d go see dad for summer visitation (as mom and dad were divorced when I was two years old), step-grandpa would take me down to Cincy and we’d see the Dodgers and Reds play when the Dodgers were in town. In terms of his morality, not much like grandma, at least not in the relevant respect. He loved Joe Morgan (as I told grandpa one time, I “hate” Joe Morgan with a “hate” that only a profound respect could even begin to appreciate)(helluva ballplayer, Joe, but he was a Red and so the enemy). If I had to describe their contrasting views of race relations, grandma called me by complete given names, Paul David, while grandpa called me PD. That’s about how far they were apart on the matter of race relations, opposite ends of the spectrum.

    For a bonus freebie, once told my mom, careful with the given names there, since before he found the faith the one soul was busy capturing and kidnapping people for murder while the other soul conspired to kill a man so that he could hide the fact that he’d slept with his wife. Surely, there are some others mentioned there in the book that I could have been named after.

  • Limerick

    Slappymcgroundnut,

    You must have some very serious guilt issues about the stolen land that you are currently occupying in North America.

  • slappymcgroundout

    “You must have some very serious guilt issues about the stolen land that you are currently occupying in North America.”

    Not really. The events that I described all happened within five years or so, so not like we took the land 100 years ago and now some are looking for some ancestral payback. Everyone involved in the event(s) that I described were alive at the same time and everyone knew just what the score was. The complicating factor, as you can imagine, is that there really was no legal remedy for those wronged. And in the same way that some others could do the most horrible and wretched thing to black folk and no white jury would ever convict them. That reality need be factored in. And sure, some could have continued walking away after their dispossession, but they didn’t. And I’m not going to condemn them, at least not in relation and in reference to the others involved.

    Now for the part that I left out, the cruel irony is that when grandma once sat down with me to go over the family tree, seems that there are some native genes in the family gene pool. Not something that grandma was proud to highlight, rather she went over that part rather quickly and in a more hushed tone, but it’s there. Never bothered to ask her for more specifics as I knew that she wasn’t exactly pleased owing to the perceived taint of the bloodline, but on my own, well, given the time period, would seem that there’s some small fraction of Shawnee genes there in my DNA. But if you want the guilt masquerading as something else, “cool” and “hip”, read up on that vast multitude in America claiming to have some Cherokee in them. Sorry, but the Cherokee didn’t quite breed that much.

  • Rory Carr

    Kevin Myers, one the most outspoken of critics of Irish Republicanism extant within journalism to the extent that the very mention of his name is enough to raise a chorus of boos in a room full of nationalists and a round of cheers in a unionist filled room has this to say on the concept of “one side is as bad as the other” when it comes to sectariansim in Ireland:

    “There is a congenial, indeed government-backed myth, in both Scotland and in Ireland, that “one side is bad as another”: that Sinn Fein-IRA are pretty much the same as the UDA/UVF. This is simply untrue. There is no republican equivalent to the Romper Rooms of the UDA, wherein men were routinely beaten to a pulp by loyalist thugs, and from which both the term and the practice became celebrated. And then there was Lenny Murphy and his merry gang, the Shankill Butchers, who for years in the mid-1970s abducted, tortured and murdered Catholics — usually by cutting their victims’ throats.

    This culture did not emerge simply as a response to IRA violence. It was there already. It was feckless, violent, drunken, lost, lumpen proletarians for whom a perverted tribal identity conjoined with a Godlessly Calvinist sense of superiority, even as they stewed in their ghettoes of suffocating illiteracy and economic failure. But they were nonetheless elevated by the insane delusion that they are the chosen people, who have been deprived of their birthright by some vast conspiracy between the Catholic Church and the British government.

    This psychiatric condition affects almost an entire under-caste, thereby placing their minds and aspirations almost beyond ordinary analysis.” – Irish Independent.

    With friend like this…

  • Limerick

    Slappymcgroundnut,

    In light of your theory that the Kingsmills massacre was justified because it ‘saved lives’ can you give some thought to my question below please?

    “Since the PIRA ceasefire only came about following a surge in loyalist violence, which saw them for the last few years of the Troubles kill more people than republicans, is it your contention that the murders they carried out were what ended the Troubles?

    Should we be grateful to them for saving so many lives since?”

  • Limerick

    Rory,

    Kevin must have clean forgot all about south Armagh PIRA.

  • lamhdearg

    “There is no republican equivalent to the Romper Rooms of the UDA, wherein men were routinely beaten to a pulp”. What is it, when republicans beat hoods to a pulp as has happened countless times in the past, when ardoyne pira used meat scewers to nail a child (14 yo) to the ground, and then beat him with bats. hen the same p.r.r.a. people beat one of their own close to death then busted the lifts in the block of flats he was bleeding to death in, so the paramedics could not reach him. When an uncle of mine was found murdered on the cilftonville road in 1972 he had been killed in the same way as the worst of the butchers victims, what is it when irish republicans do those things Rory. i see the evil in loyalism as i am not blind, are you blind?.

  • Limerick

    Slappymcgroundnut,

    If you have a minute would you mind addressing my question below please?

    “Since the PIRA ceasefire only came about following a surge in loyalist violence, which saw them for the last few years of the Troubles kill more people than republicans, is it your contention that the murders they carried out were what ended the Troubles?

    Should we be grateful to them for saving so many lives since?”