IRPSG Statement on Soldier F and Bloody Sunday

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16/04/2019 by socialistfight

The guilty are not just Soldier F, but all the soldiers who murdered cvilians on that day and the commanders who gave the orders and Ted Heath who procured the Bloody Sunday Massacre

Sir Robert Ford (7 January 1972): “I am coming to the conclusion that the minimum force necessary to achieve a restoration of law and order is to shoot selected ringleaders amongst the DYH (Derry Young Hooligans).”  He did just that three weeks later.

It is now more than 47 years since 14 civilians were murdered by 1 Para in Derry on 30 January 1972. These murders were seen on television internationally and caused universal outrage. Lord Widgery took just over two months to produce a lying report defending the killings.

Ted Heath had told him in a secret memo: that they were “fighting not only a military war but a propaganda war.” The massacre was ordered, directly or indirectly, by Ted Heath’s Tory government.

In 1998, 26 years after the murders, Lord Saville began a second inquiry which took 12 years to complete and directly contradicted the Widgery report. And now, 9 years later, just one man, Soldier F, is charged with just two murders. But again, the concern was to protect the British Tory establishment then led by Ted Heath. The Saville inquiry stated:

5.4: “In this belief soldiers reacted by losing their self-control and firing themselves, forgetting or ignoring their instructions and training and failing to satisfy themselves that they had identified targets posing a threat of causing death or serious injury … our overall conclusion is that there was a serious and widespread loss of fire discipline among the soldiers of Support Company.”

We reject this obvious cover-up; these hardened soldiers were obviously acting on order; 1 Para had returned from slaughtering the people of Aden in 1967. The massacre was organised on the foot of the advice of the top army commanders and strategists General Sir Frank  Kitson. Future General Sir Mike Jackson was an adjutant in 1 Para, but, although he has now admitted that innocent people were killed, persists in claiming incoming fire, which the Inquiry rejected. Perjury charges are clearly warranted.

As Eamonn McCann observed on the release of the Saville report in 2010:

“When it comes to the allocation of blame to the soldiers, it follows a pattern of convicting the lower orders while exculpating the higher command and dismissing the possibility of political leaders had been even passively complicit in the events.”

We believe the material revealed in the Ballymurphy inquest adds to the accumulated evidence against Wilford, Ford and Kitson and this warrants the Irish government bringing charges of war crimes against them in the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

The Butcher of Amritsar: General Reginald Dyer is a 2006 historical biography written by Nigel Collett, a former Gurkha officer, which covers the life of Reginald Dyer. The book’s title refers to the 1919 massacre at Jallianwala Bagh in which 379 (sic! in fact approximately 1,000) people were shot by troops under the command of Dyer.[1] It is the second biography written on Dyer, the first having been written in the 1930s with co-operation from Dyer’s widow which was described by Saul David as an “unashamed hagiography

This massacre is in a long line of British imperialist massacres. At Rorkes Drift, 1879, British soldiers massacred up to 850 wounded Zulus after they won that battle. It is just over 100 years since the India’s Jallianwala Bagh massacre where some 1,000 in a mixed Sikh/Hindu/Muslim peaceful demonstration were slaughtered on the orders of  Cork-born Brigadier-General Dyer. A bogus inquiry endorsed the massacre.

And Ireland’s other Bloody Sunday, again 14 massacred by the British army in Croke park and three POWs bludgeoned to death in November 1920. No inquiry, no one charged. In 2012 the British High Court found British troops guilty of the Batang Kali massacre in Malaya in 1948, they had killed 24 defenceless civilians.

   In 2013 William Hague, then Britain’s foreign secretary, apologised and accepted that its security forces had tortured, mutilated and raped Kenyan Mau Mau fighters. The Kenya Human Rights Commission says 90,000 Kenyans were executed, tortured or maimed, and 160,000 people were detained in appalling conditions.

The de Silva Report (2013) on collusion with loyalist paramilitaries (into the murder of solicitor Pat Finucane, etc) “led to two further ‘unconditional’ British apologies for the behaviour of its security forces in Northern Ireland. In November 2013, a BBC ‘Panorama’ investigation into British counterinsurgency in Northern Ireland in the early 1970s revealed that members of a special covert operations unit known as the Military Reaction Force (MRF) admitted to the murder of suspects and unarmed Catholic civilians. These admissions by the state or its agents confirm previous claims by critics dating back many decades. Such abuses were not merely low-level tactical excesses by undisciplined and racist troops but were institutional, systematic, and approved or covered up at the highest levels.

Soldier F, who spent two days giving evidence at the Saville Inquiry, admitted killing at least four people in Bloody Sunday. He is now charged with just two murders and no other soldier is to be charged, because of a rule that their public statements to the Saville Inquiry cannot be used as evidence.

All the soldiers identified as killers in the Saville inquiry should be charged and the top generals who are still alive, Frank Kitson, Derek Wilford and Mike Jackson, be likewise charged with the murders. And blame be correctly attributed to those ultimately responsible, the entire British establishment led at the time by Ted Heath. 

In a document published by the Inquiry dated 7 January 1972, General Sir Robert Ford Commander Land Forces, Northern Ireland (now dead), declared himself ‘disturbed’ by the attitude of army and police chiefs in Derry and added:

“I am coming to the conclusion that the minimum force necessary to achieve a restoration of law and order is to shoot selected ringleaders amongst the DYH (Derry Young Hooligans).”

He claimed not to remember this memo at the hearing and he wasn’t pressed on it but he did just that three weeks later. Seven of the murdered were indeed Derry teenagers, but not hooligans, peaceful demonstrators demanding their civil rights.  ▲

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