PSNI investigation of Bloody Sunday show limits of GFA in dealing with the past.

So the PSNI are going to open an investigation into Bloody Sunday. So, in theory at least, no one  is safe from possible future prosecution. Richard Dannett, former Chief of the General Staff in the British Army notes:

Soldiers gave evidence [to Saville] in good faith not fearing later prosecution. Is that good faith now to be abused? And 2010 the Nationalist community in Londonderry seemed to accept the Saville findings thus apparently closing that sorry chapter of Northern Ireland history.

In bloody conflict, little is pretty. Bloody Sunday was an ugly chapter but it is closed chapter, and closed it should remain. Today Northern Ireland is moving forward – surely eyes in the Province should be looking ahead and not in the rear view mirror?

It strikes me as funny (peculiar rather than ha ha) that no one wants a comprehensive deal on the past until its one of theirs likely to get hauled in front of the beak. But this reinforces what we have already seen in the case of Gerry McGeough that, potentially at least, no one is above having their collar felt for past crimes.

A former commander of the Anglian Regiment Richard Kemp spoke on Morning Ireland this morning, and referred the licence agreement available to those already convicted of crimes. But famously, there was no arrangement for ‘on the runs’ or those who have yet to be convicted for troubles related.

The investigations the PSNI say are to be long and complex, so don’t hold your breath on an early result. But it’s a useful reminder that the protections on people who have thus far escaped criminal investigations might not in the future, no matter who they are.

Richard, Meghan, are you watching?

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  • JR

    And you wonder why Gerry Adams says he was never in the IRA.

  • between the bridges

    With 1500 unsolved murders there are a lot of collars needing felt…

  • Yes it shows the limitations of the Good Friday Agreement.
    (Although the notion of “Good Faith” in this or any other aspect of our politics is risible.
    We can do nothing.
    The Good Friday Agreement is a failure….and I’m not convinced its a “noble” failure.
    Scrap the institutions.
    Investigate Crimes….wont make any difference anyway.
    We are living a LIE.
    Its falling apart and I dont even care anymore.

  • Morpheus

    Each and every victim who suffered at the hands of Republican, Loyalist or State violence deserves justice and no one should be above the law. A soldier simply cannot drop to one knee and kill innocent civilians and expect to walk away without facing the consequences. If the evidence is there then they should be convicted.

    The same goes for the 1500 unsolved murders that BTB talks about – each should be investigated to the nth degree and if the evidence is there then the perpetrators should be convicted.

  • Harry Flashman

    “The investigations the PSNI say are to be long and complex”

    I wonder why this should be.

    The shooters numbered a dozen at most and all have been identified. They have all given evidence outside of Saville, in statements to their officers at the time, and in many cases in subsequent media interviews, so who fired which shots, from where, at what time and at whom have been well documented. The ballistics reports taken at the time are also available.

    Follow this up with countless witnesses, many of them, including doctors, police officers, members of the press, forensic scientists and clergymen of unimpeachable character, all of whom have over the years provided hundreds of accurate and detailed descriptions of what they saw, combined with film, photographic and military surveillance footage and recordings of the army’s own communications.

    Even without using a single shred of evidence provided to Saville rarely has any police investigation been so amply provided with a mass of evidence and statements.

    If a gang of Irish blokes ran through Manchester shooting unarmed civilians in the same circumstances the case would be open and shut in six months flat. The men who allegedly murdered Lee Ridgely don’t have as much public evidence amassed against them. For heaven’s sake the peelers are locking up geriatric celebrities for groping teenaged girls back in the 1960’s on less evidence than there is against the paras.

    So I cannot for the life of me see how this case could possibly be described as “complex”.

  • sherdy

    Richard Dannett says the ‘ugly’ chapter is closed.
    Who closed it? Certainly not Maggie Thatcher who said ‘Murder is murder, is murder’.
    Is the brave soldier now afraid he may be prosecuted for sheltering the killers? So much for his bravery medals!

  • Ye Gods, not another pathetic jobs for the boys creation scheme?

    Is there nothing new and creative rather than old and regurgative in the politically inept pipeline?

  • The army Commander would seem to be either confused or disingenous.
    There simply was not any understanding that the soldiers could testify without fear of prosecution. The Commissions terms of reference instead said that any admissions made in the course of testifying could not be used as evidence in ay subsequent presecution.

  • And I meant “prosection” just in case anyone thinks it is persecution.

  • drat: prosecution

  • Son of Strongbow

    It is to be welcomed that the police are investigating the incident. Should a prima facie case be found that warrants prosecution then prosecute.

    As for the “complexity” of the case perhaps that presents in finding a suitable legal mechanism that allows for sidestepping an investigation into possession of a firearm with intent, to whit a Thompson sub-machine gun, allegedly toted by a local ‘politician’ on the day in question.

  • Rory Carr

    No need for any detailed investigation really. If we are to follow British standards of justice in this matter all that is required is that any half dozen or so British army squaddies be hauled in, beaten to within an inch of their life, made to sign confessions and then sentenced to life imprisonment with a tariff of forty or fifty years. Purely pour encourager les autres you understand.

  • Reader

    Rory Carr: If we are to follow British standards of justice in this matter all that is required…
    You left out the bit about being released on appeal. Presumably that’s the bit that makes you willing to have lived for so long in a location within such easy reach of British peelers.
    In any case the tariff for troubles related murders is now two years max following the GFA.

  • Mick Fealty

    JR,

    I’ll be sure to include that point in the next Gerry thread [seriously!]

    I think Harry puts hammer to nail there. Why would the police not prosecute with all that evidence. It does somewhat expose the ‘gentlemanly’ agreement that underpins the whole post GFA edifice.

    But if you start seriously looking at those 1500 murders with a view to prosecution and you will almost certainly have to say goodbye to the current settlement.

    A bit of focus on current crime might serve us all a little better than endless retribution over the past. In the meantime, this might just sweeten some bitter pills that may have to be taken in the near term.

  • Any prosecutions should start at the top with the commanding officer of the regiment and those top officers serving under him for they set the tone for the behavior of the regiment. Any prosecution of individual soldiers should be restricted to cases in which it is demonstrated that they clearly violated the rules of engagement that were in effect at the time. The ROE cover who can be legally engaged as targets and under what circumstances. By questioning the soldiers and looking at documentation it should be pretty easy to determine what were the ROE and if there were any oral orders countermanding them.

  • tmitch,

    Totally agree but it won’t happen. FCOL, some of those officers were awarded for their magnificent action(s).

  • mr x

    IMHO there will be no prosecutions unless the British Army agrees and there is reciprocal prosecution of senior IRA figures.

  • Alias

    “I’ll be sure to include that point in the next Gerry thread [seriously!] ”

    Why bother? Marty wasn’t arrested when he admitted to being a member.

  • Framer

    The soldiers that day did not set out with an intent to murder. Whatever happened was therefore in legal terms somewhere between manslaughter and justifiable homicide.
    Given that a prosecution will turn on the question of motive I doubt the evidence will ever become available (short of a voluntary confession) to charge with a crime let alone obtain a conviction.
    Prepare yourselves for this ending with no action being stamped by the PPS on a dozen files and a lot of lawyers better off.

  • son of sam

    In practical terms, it will be years before files reach the P P S and some time later before a decision is taken.It could well be a pivotal period for the current Director.The current furore over arrests and questioning of former soldiers seems like a pre-emptive strike by the M O D.As always the only beneficiaries are likely to be lawyers.

  • BluesJazz

    No forensic evidence as the rifles involved were destroyed in an unfortunate accident 🙂
    So this is all for the optics.

    Maybe put Brian Faulkner on trial (in absentia) to keep the legal circus on the Derryvolgie moneygoround .

  • Ruarai

    He tells us: “Nothing can bring back from the grave the 14 people of Londonderry who lost their lives on 30th January 1972, and nothing now can ameliorate the grief that their families still feel today.”

    Nothing can ameliorate the grief? I don’t know – seems a string of convictions would go a very long way indeed to at least ameliorating that grief.

    Regardless, the purpose of the convictions is not to help families, it’s to rebut the notion that British soldiers can go into Ireland or anywhere else, shoot to death innocent protesters, and then simply Keep Calm and Carry On.

  • BluesJazz

    ‘Innocent protesters’ my arse.

    Nail bombers and assorted lowlife.

    There will be no prosecutions, never mind the absurd idea of convictions.

    Just as the(now) politician who ordered the (real) murder of Joanne Mathers cannot be prosecuted for pragmatic reasons.
    That’s the way the cookie crumbles.

  • tacapall

    “Nail bombers and assorted lowlife.

    There will be no prosecutions, never mind the absurd idea of convictions”

    Hello Gregory, your ass seems to be well opened, you really do have the blues and your a fortune teller too. Your boss dosen’t agree with you either –

    http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-202_162-6583536.html

    “British Prime Minister David Cameron said he was deeply sorry for the 1972 “Bloody Sunday” massacre, telling lawmakers that an investigation into Northern Ireland’s biggest mass killing by British soldiers showed the attack was unjustified.

    Cameron says the report shows there is “no ambiguity” about what happened that day, and that British soldiers fired first and even killed injured protesters trying to flee”

  • Tir Chonaill Gael

    taca,
    don’t take the lonely little man’s bait.

  • Occasional Commentator

    Is David Vance now posting under the alias of BluesJazz??

    Same modus operandi 🙂

  • derrydave

    Can’t help but think that this is all one big expensive waste of everyone’s time and energy. No soldier will ever be convicted in court for their actions that day – surely we should all now be at least trying to look forward rather than back to 1972 ?

    As much as I hate to agree with the British Army’s position, I really do in this case – After the Saville enquiry report was released there was a real sense that people had received closure and that as a city we could now all move on. Nothing of any value can be achieved by this exercise.

  • USA

    BluesJazz (BJ),
    You let yourself down a bucket full with that comment. A real keyboard warrior little boy……

  • BluesJazz

    The real pseudo warrior was our dFM who shot a young female census collector in the back. How proud he (and you USA) must be of her death.

  • Harry Flashman

    The soldiers that day did not set out with an intent to murder. Whatever happened was therefore in legal terms somewhere between manslaughter and justifiable homicide.”

    Actually from what has been exhaustively gleaned from Saville and the huge mass of books, tv and other documentary evidence it would appear that the Paras very much sought to go in tough in Derry that day, quite literally firing from the hip. These are the same men let us not forget who were responsible for a similar massacre in Belfast only a few months earlier.

    It is a shameful fact for the Parachute Regiment that more than half of the unarmed civilian casualties caused by the military over the course of the Troubles were caused by that single regiment. They brought disgrace on an army which it has to be said in fairness for the most part, for the most part, behaved with exemplary discipline during the Troubles.

    Given that a prosecution will turn on the question of motive I doubt the evidence will ever become available (short of a voluntary confession) to charge with a crime let alone obtain a conviction.

    That’s not how it works, if A shoots B dead, and A admits the shooting and conclusive ballistic evidence is produced along with dozens of witness statements confirming that A shot B in cold blood, the police prosecute, they do not rely on voluntary confessions from the shooter. The CPS does not concern itself with motive merely the facts it has ascertained. Motive is a matter for the suspect’s defence when the case comes to court.

    No doubt the defence lawyer would claim the soldier opened fire in reasonable circumstances, it would after all be the only defence. However given the evidence of hundreds of witnesses, including journalists, priests, doctors, lawyers and others all providing corroborating evidence that the soldier in fact fired “aimed shots” (the soldiers’ own words in statements to their officers) at unarmed civilians who were posing no threat and the wealth of photographic evidence proving this, well if I were the defence solicitor I’d be advising an early guilty plea to mitigate the sentence.

  • ..legal terms somewhere between manslaughter and justifiable homicide..

    Absolutely not if we accept Saville’s findings that all of the deaths were unjustifiable. In that case, it falls between manslaughter and murder. I would accept that some were one and some probably the other. There were definitely some murders so far as I can determine from reading all of the evidence to Saville..

  • Morpheus

    “Any prosecutions should start at the top with the commanding officer of the regiment and those top officers serving under him for they set the tone for the behavior of the regiment. ”

    Hmmmmm

    I think the words of Major Hubert O’Neill, then Coroner of the inquest into the deaths on ‘Bloody Sunday’ show why there should be prosecutions if the evidence there:
    “This Sunday became known as Bloody Sunday and bloody it was. It was quite unnecessary. It strikes me that the Army ran amok that day and shot without thinking what they were doing. They were shooting innocent people. These people may have been taking part in a march that was banned but that does not justify the troops coming in and firing live rounds indiscriminately. I would say without hesitation that it was sheer, unadulterated murder. It was murder.”

  • cynic2

    “Any prosecutions should start at the top with the commanding officer of the regiment and those top officers serving under him for they set the tone for the behavior of the regiment.”

    Great . Now can we do the same for PIRA and Sinn Fein? It was all wrong and SFs policy is clear – they want an Ireland of Equals

  • cynic2

    “How proud he (and you USA) must be of her death.”

    ….but she was a clear enemy of the state when she was offering people a vote after PIRA had decided they shouldn’t have one

  • cynic2

    To be serious thought, this was murder and should be prosecuted if possible – alongside all the other cases. I take the view that they all should be done

    The serious legal point though will be whether there can be a fair trial The first challenges will be under Article 6 where the resources available to the state were employed in such huge quantities that even legally aided the defendants cannot get sufficient support after such a long time to obtain their own witnesses and mount a fair defence to the allegations they face.

    Expect about 5 years of legal argument and appeals before there’s even a remote possibility of a trial

  • Cackle Daily

    Blues Jazz

    I know the story about attention starved trolls and all that but ‘Nail bombers and assorted lowlife’?

    Have you no sense of shame?

  • It always seems amazing to me that there are some people who just cannot make a distinction between murders carried out by self professed murder gangs and those who are theoretically supposed to be upholding the law of the land. But, I quess, that’s simply a N.I. perversion by some who really should know better but are addicted to whataboutery

  • Morpheus

    “It always seems amazing to me that there are some people who just cannot make a distinction between murders carried out by self professed murder gangs and those who are theoretically supposed to be upholding the law of the land”

    Is there a distinction between the murders of the first group and the second Joe?

  • Alias

    “It always seems amazing to me that there are some people who just cannot make a distinction between murders carried out by self professed murder gangs and those who are theoretically supposed to be upholding the law of the land.”

    The distinction is entirely academic and mainly used as propaganda by Provo sympathizers as an attempt to lower the state to their level. The family of Jean McConville, et al, is every bit as entitled to justice as the families of those murdered on Bloody Sunday.

    Whether by accident or design, Bloody Sunday moved ‘the troubles’ from the civil rights and street protest phase (which had delivered reforms) into the dead end of murder gangs wherein resolution would be about the murder gangs desisting rather than any purpose which may have challenged British national interests in Ireland.

  • tacapall

    Alias make your mind up you must have dementia. One minute you say that PIRA and its army council were controlled by British intelligence now your rambling on about provo sympathizers lowering the state to the provos level, are you blaming the monkey for the organ grinders bad music.

    Did you not also say that the murder gangs were controlled by British intelligence ? So why would those same British controlled murder gangs not act in the best interests of the British establishment.

    If the state uses murder and terrorism to supposedly stop murder and terrorism then what is the moral difference between state murderers and paramilitary murderers ?

  • Alias

    You’re conflating all agencies of a State. For example, Freddie Scappaticci was an FRU agent who was appointed to the head of PIRA’s Internal Security Unit and to its Northern Command by Gerry Adams. He also murdered circa 40 PIRA members in that role. Did the British state murder them? Did the FRU murder them? Did the so-called Army Council murder them? Did Gerry Adams murder them? Agencies of the state do illegal things but it doesn’t follow that the state does them. If, however, the illegal things were done with the knowledge of the government and in accordance with its policy then there is no difference. In most of these cases you’ll find that government knew very little, certainly no details, and liked to keep it that way.

  • Framer

    Alias

    Bloody Sunday certainly changed a lot in nationalist psychology but the future pattern of violence was well established by early 1972. It only accentuated the trend that had 200 people already killed from 1969-71.

  • cynic2

    “It always seems amazing to me that there are some people who just cannot make a distinction between murders carried out by self professed murder gangs and those who are theoretically supposed to be upholding the law of the land. ”

    I want to see both prosecuted wherever there is evidence. What is wrong with that?

  • Harry Flashman

    “Expect about 5 years of legal argument and appeals before there’s even a remote possibility of a trial”

    Like my fellow Derryman above I too feel that prosecutions would be wrong, I feel that the quid pro quo of Saville was that it was supposed to put an end to the issue once and for all and that the dead men would be proven to have been innocent and the Paras wrong to shoot them. A series of prosecutions of geriatric ex-soldiers is not what most people want.

    However, the hackles raise on the back of my neck when, as has been said here several times, that it would be too difficult to stage a trial. That makes me blow my top, as if there’s is some great convoluted mystery as to what happened and that maybe the victims had it coming.

    That theory was tested to destruction by Saville who conducted a meticulous, forensic, legal investigation at great cost over a dozen years and his conclusion could not have been any clearer. There was no justification for the Paras to shoot those men, all of whom were unarmed and posing no threat to the soldiers.

    That is now absolutely established as rock solid legal fact and is beyond dispute. There is no confusion or legal complexity.

    The soldiers, all of whom are known to police opened fire in broad daylight without any attempt to hide what they were doing, they shot dead a dozen or so unarmed men in front of thousands of witnesses and under the gaze of their own officers, policemen and the world’s media, who took notes, filmed and photographed the events.

    After the shootings the soldiers all provided statements to the police and their officers and submitted their rifles for ballistic examination, all the bodies were immediately examined in autopsies for forensic evidence. The thousands of witnesses provided a veritable tsunami of witness statements and evidence.

    Jesus H Christ! If the police or prosecutors think they can’t get enough evidence together to present to a jury with all that stuff they really need to reconsider their choice of profession.

    This year Stuart bloody Hall was charged, tried and convicted in six months flat for groping a wee girl back in 1969, are you telling me Bloody Sunday is a trickier crime scene than that?

    Mick is right, there’s a strange gentleness to the way the Paras are being treated. Either charge the men or don’t bother, but for feck’s sake stop insulting our intelligence by pretending it’s a difficult case to prosecute, it’s open and shut for crying out loud.

  • tacapall

    “Freddie Scappaticci was an FRU agent who was appointed to the head of PIRA’s Internal Security Unit and to its Northern Command by Gerry Adams. He also murdered circa 40 PIRA members in that role. Did the British state murder them? Did the FRU murder them? Did the so-called Army Council murder them? Did Gerry Adams murder them? Agencies of the state do illegal things but it doesn’t follow that the state does them”

    Are you suggesting the puppet master is not responsible for the actions of the puppet. At least try and be clear about what your saying. In any normal persons eyes those who pull the strings of those who pull the triggers or set off the bombs are just as equally guilty, but maybe its somehow different in your world.

  • Alias

    “Are you suggesting the puppet master is not responsible for the actions of the puppet.”

    That’s pretty much it in law. The closest an NI SoS came to justifying murder was the lamentable Mo Mowlam excusing PIRA’s murder of Charles Bennett as “internal housekeeping”. Again, it was PIRA’s ISU that carried out the murder.

    In reality, the intelligence services don’t tell government who their agents are (as members of government come and go) and nor are members of government dumb enough to ask.

  • Barney

    Moderation Policy on the Fealty vanity site

    Moderation requires some of the good old-fashioned skills of editing, to aid the creation of content that’s readable. It is also a way of signaling that this ‘public’ space actually has a owner that cares about what goes on there. And it keeps things legal. At root it is about helping to culture good conversations.

    But it’s at moments when the red mist descends, for the commenter and possibly for the moderator themselves that calm analysis is most needed. Develop your sense of humour and realise that …

    very few things that happen online are ever a big deal… and
    everything on the Internet is eclipsed by something else within a few minutes
    It is almost impossible to be impeccably objective. The best you can do to is to avoid some of the more obvious pitfalls. We recommend Wikipedia’s shorthand list of biases: http://tinyurl.com/cognitivebiases

    We have notional Yellow (a serious warning) and Red (banning from the site for a fortnight, for the first time) ‘cards’. As well as helping to keep things clean, it helps retain a competitive edge on the ‘dialogue’ and can greatly enhance the speed and quality of the game!

    Our moderators are voluntary, and fallible. All decisions can be appealed, by contacting Mick using this spam-proof e-mail link.

    How the fuck do some the above comments fit with this policy?

  • Sp12

    “How the fuck do some the above comments fit with this policy?”

    Leave them up there I say, like para flags in the fountain, east Belfast, Glengormley or Ballymena or DUP MPs attitudes towards the shooting dead of 14 of ‘themmuns’ it shames no-one but those who let their bitterness hang out for all to see.

  • Morpheus

    Great post Barney. I can see one ‘card-worthy’ post in particular about our DFM which seems to have been missed.

  • cynic2

    “That is now absolutely established as rock solid legal fact and is beyond dispute. There is no confusion or legal complexity.”

    And that is the problem. It was not a criminal trial but any proposal to now hold a criminal trial must comply with ECHR including Article 6 on ‘equality of arms’ I appreciate that for the families that is very hard to understand but the law is blind to that and Article 6 ECHR focuses solely on the rights of the accused.

    Among the key bits are

    “6.2 Everyone charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law”

    So the starting point is clear. The soldiers re innocent at this stage

    ” 6.3 Everyone charged with a criminal offence has the following minimum rights:

    (b) to have adequate time and the facilities for the preparation of his defence;

    (c) to defend himself in person or through legal assistance of his own choosing or, if he has not sufficient means to pay for legal assistance, to be given it free when the interests of justice so require;

    (d) to examine or have examined witnesses against him and to obtain the attendance and examination of witnesses on his behalf under the same conditions as witnesses against him;”

    If those conditions don’t apply the trial cannot proceed.

    Just as with Saville this is a lawyers bonanza

  • foyle observer

    Unionists are absolutely shameful when it comes to Bloody Sunday. They practically justify this massacre because the parade was illegal.

    Now, if the British Army were deployed this evening to Twaddel and massacred 14 Loyalists, would Gregory Campbell be so quick to dismiss it as ‘soldiers were put in a difficult position’?

    No, he and many other apologists for this State sanctioned murder would be out on the streets grieving.

    You know what it boils down to though, pure, unadulterated sectarianism. The fact that 14 innocent men who were murdered by the brits, were Catholic, that’s why they defend those ‘Paras’. Simple as that.

    Shameful, Scottish, hypocrites.

  • Harry Flashman

    “So the starting point is clear. The soldiers [a]re innocent at this stage”

    Of course they are and they are absolutely entitled to a fair trial and all the usual benefits of the defence, nowhere have I suggested otherwise.

    However my point is very simple; a veritable tsunami of evidence currently exists, outside of Saville, including ballistics evidence, statements made by the soldiers and attending police officers, evidence provided by literally thousands of witnesses including priests, lawyers, doctors and elected representatives as well as print journalists, photographers and video cameramen to present a prima facie case of murder against several if not all the soldiers concerned.

    I fail to see how this case could remotely be regarded as complex, if the same evidence was presented against a member of the public it wouldn’t take forty years to bring him to trial.

    At the trial the soldiers, or more likely their lawyers as I doubt any of them would be willing to face cross-examination, can have the opportunity to state their defence, be it acting under orders, belief that they were being shot at, self defence or little green aliens making them do it.

    Their evidence can be weighed up against the evidence of the prosecution by the fine ladies and gentlemen of a British jury (in which I have the greatest faith) who can then decide who was telling the truth about what happened, exactly as occurs in any other trial.

    Frankly I am at a loss to see where the EHRC comes into a perfectly simple and basic criminal prosecution. Here’s a suggestion, you and your mates go out in broad daylight and shoot thirteen unarmed people dead in front of cctv cameras and see if it takes forty years to prosecute you or whether you could call in the EHRC to prevent your trial.

  • ForkHandles

    not another investigation into the past… for goodness sake move on..

  • Morpheus

    Prosecutions will demonstrate that what happened was the responsibility of individuals who went on a rampage rather than it being army policy at the time. Prosecutions will distance the army from those individuals and protect its reputation and the reputations of countless others who served with dignity.

    The same goes for those who joined in loyalist chants at Ibrox the other week. The BA should dish out the discharges to distance the army from individuals who behaved so badly and so publicaly to show that that behavior is not acceptable.

  • cynic2

    “Frankly I am at a loss to see where the EHRC comes into a perfectly simple and basic criminal prosecution.”

    Its very simple. We have laws. They have to consider ECHR. This is one of the consequences

    ” you and your mates ”

    Do you ever read posts before you rush out to comment and assume that people are opposed to an investigation and / or trial. Please read my post first before you make such stupid comments. Do do otherwise is mere stereotyping. I was simply pointing out the challenges. If you don’t believe me just wait and see

    “Unionists are absolutely shameful when it comes to Bloody Sunday. They practically justify this massacre because the parade was illegal.”

    Just who said that?

  • carl marks

    Morpheus (profile)

    22 October 2013 at 1:44 pm

    “Great post Barney. I can see one ‘card-worthy’ post in particular about our DFM which seems to have been missed.”

    These is true but remember that this site does excuse SOS’s many posts despite his raw sectarianism and the Walter Mitty like character of his utterances,
    As for Blue Jazz as me old mum used to , all you will ever get from a pig is a grunt! remember FDM got blacked for less.

  • Reader

    tacapall: Are you suggesting the puppet master is not responsible for the actions of the puppet. At least try and be clear about what your saying. In any normal persons eyes those who pull the strings of those who pull the triggers or set off the bombs are just as equally guilty, but maybe its somehow different in your world.
    It was the job of the IRA’s ISU to murder people, so 40 people were going to die either way. Many of them would have been the same people. At worst Scap’s handler merely saved a few (relatively) good guys at the expense of a few (relatively) bad guys, and the world is that much better off as a result. More likely, the ISU’s kill rate was slowed, the IRA’s effectiveness undermined, and the troubles shortened.

  • Son of Strongbow

    Poor wee Carl. Still smarting after all this time from being gently slapped down a few times.

    Perhaps it’s a symptom of too many exposures to lack of oxygen during his many ‘mountaineering’ expeditions?

    Note to self: lay off Carl. Don’t exacerbate his PTSD any further. With time and counselling he may heal.

  • tacapall

    “At worst Scap’s handler merely saved a few (relatively) good guys at the expense of a few (relatively) bad guys, and the world is that much better off as a result”

    So you have judged all those people who were shot for being informers as members of the IRA and therefore deserved what they got. So did Jean Mc Conville and all the dissapeared deserve what they got and is the world better off for what happened to them ? Rather than commenting for the sake of it Reader why dont you do a bit of investigating before you put your fingers to the keyboard.

  • carl marks

    Son of Strongbow (profile)

    22 October 2013 at 8:20 pm

    Poor wee Carl. Still smarting after all this time from being gently slapped down a few times.

    Perhaps it’s a symptom of too many exposures to lack of oxygen during his many ‘mountaineering’ expeditions?

    As I said Walter Mitty (nobody reading his posts would think he has slapped anybody down) note the irrelevant personal abuse instead of any attempt at rational argument or debate.
    Dear old SOS actually believes he is a wonderful debater , however he rarely contributes anything to a thread but silly exaggerations and more often than not will claim as I have said before personal experience of the subject of the thread (owned one, employed one ,been there, done that etc.)
    We all know someone like him in the pub always good for a laugh both when they are in the room and more often after they have left, the mountaineering thing is his latest obsession, and if we read his comments about what he thinks mountains are like at least we know he can never claim any experience in that field, one little blessing at least.

  • Reader

    tacapall: So you have judged all those people who were shot for being informers as members of the IRA and therefore deserved what they got.
    The “I” in ISU stands for internal, so there’s the first part of the judgement taken care of. As for the second part – I am opposed to the death penalty, but given the existence of the IRA and its ISU, people were going to keep dying either way. Nothing you, nor I, nor Scap, nor his handler could have done would have prevented that altogether. It could, and, I believe, would have been worse.
    But here you go – the power of decision is handed to you: given only the power to place or turn the head of the ISU, how would you have saved lives?
    Would you aim for a net saving of lives or do you prefer sins of omission over sins of commission?

  • carl marks

    cynic2 (profile)

    22 October 2013 at 11:56 am

    “It always seems amazing to me that there are some people who just cannot make a distinction between murders carried out by self professed murder gangs and those who are theoretically supposed to be upholding the law of the land. ”

    I want to see both prosecuted wherever there is evidence. What is wrong with that?
    With Joe’s permission I will explain what I think he is getting at,
    Everyone is entitled to Justice regardless of who they are, but surely those who break the trust put into(and which they accept by oath) by society soldiers, police, POLTICIANS, civil servants etc. should not only be punished for the law they broke but also for breaking their oath and betraying the trust society put in them.

  • Alias

    The official line is that the state directs the murder gangs in order to save the lives of its citizens.

    This is the line that Gordan Kerr, former head of the FRU, proffered to the judge at the trial of another FRU agent Brian Nelson. He told the judge that Nelson passed on “730 reports concerning threats to 217 separate individuals” and these lives were saved by the FRU via its agent Brian Nelson.

    This official line was tested by the Stevens team and duly found to be a crock of shit: Sergeant Benwell of the Stevens Inquiry said “I could only find maybe two cases where the information given by Nelson may have been helpful to the Security Forces in preventing attacks.”

    Two lives saved by the FRU’s role in running the UDA and dozens of lives lost.

  • tacapall

    Reader your dancing on a pinhead, the evidence is out there that shows that at least four members if not more of the PIRAs internal security unit were British agents, all puppets of British intelligence. Dont give me that Machiavellian bullshit, using terrorism and murder to stop terrorism and murder is wrong and immoral. Without a line in the sand there is no difference betwwen the state and the terrorist. Making excuses for crossing that line makes you no different than those who justified killing and bombing to enforce change. Police officers or forces of the state who know a murder or murders is goiing to take place and having the power to save the innocent victim or victims but instead sit back and allow the victim or victims to be murdered for reasons of tactical advantage is immorally wrong and illegal no matter what you believe.

  • cynic2

    “also for breaking their oath and betraying the trust society put in them.”

    Nice piece of retrospective law making but aside from misfeasance in public office – where is the law on that? And even assuming that they did commit a crime those who pulled the triggers of SLRs or shot young census workers are also guilty

  • carl marks

    cynic2
    How does someone else being guilty of something take away from the Para’s guilt on Bloody Sunday,
    The state and its agents (Army, Police, the Courts) have a duty to uphold the law, they swear to uphold the law when they break those laws (and murder is not a small thing)they should also be charged with breaking the trust put in them and which they accepted.
    Im sure such a route exists at present in our legal system and perhaps one of our legally qualified posters could prove me right or wrong.

  • Thank you Carl That’s it.

  • cynic,

    I understand what you are saying and I totally agree; murder is murder and should be investigated and prosecuted in all cases.
    My point is that State agents have a higher moral responsibility (whatever that means to others) and should be vigorously investigated. That is not what has been happening to date although perhaps that is about to change (I’m not holding my breath). The days of constructive ambiguity should pass.

  • Reader

    tacapall: Without a line in the sand there is no difference betwwen the state and the terrorist.
    Are you also a pacifist? If you are, then we aren’t going to find a point of agreement anywhere.
    If you are not a pacifist, then you have already accepted that self-defence, or some other just cause, allows the use of war, which implies the near certain loss of innocent life, however proportionate the means used. The moral argument evaporates there: leaving you either with an utter insistence on the rule of law; or an insistence that the counter-terrorist tactics were malicious, not calculated.
    The first argument would be hypocritical coming from someone for whom being a parasite on the largesse of the state is a matter of pride and a token of resistance.
    Whereas the second is what I would expect from someone so receptive to signs of layer upon layer of conspiracy.

  • tacapall

    Reader as a matter of fact I am a pacifist and using violence to achieve ones ends is wrong no matter the circumstances, like I said when you cross the line in the sand and use terrorism to stop terrorism then theres no difference between you and the terrorist.

    “Whereas the second is what I would expect from someone so receptive to signs of layer upon layer of conspiracy”

    Is that what you call a logical assumption, your still trying to dig yourself out of that hole you dug yourself into but talking about conspiracies, is everyone involved in this conspiracy against those same security forces who Jeffery Donaldson and Willie Mc Crea defended in Westminister today claiming a distinction must be made between terrorists and the forces of the state –

    http://blogs.channel4.com/alex-thomsons-view/historical-enquiries-team-exposes-northern-ireland-collusion/6376

    “Historical Enquiries Team exposes Northern Ireland collusion”

    When is it ever going to end for you, are you going to defend these actions too ?