Too little, too late?

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Too little, too late?

Post by macliam » Thu Mar 14, 2019 2:45 pm

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-47540271
It is said that "The wheels of justice turn slowly, but grind exceedingly fine" but sometimes it seems they just grind exceedingly slowly. For the families of 2 victims of Bloody Sunday there will be a prosecution as well as Cameron's admission that their relative had been murdered. For the other 11, the apology must suffice. One ex-soldier will be held to account for his actions, another 16 ex-soldiers and 2 Official IRA men will not be prosecuted due to insufficient evidence. This, after 47 years.....

I do not agree with the gratuitous prosecution of ex-soldiers for their actions - but I do believe that any decision is weighted in their favour. To have fired without provocation is one thing, to have executed the victim as they lay wounded is another - not even acceptable in wartime. What penalty can be meted out after so long is problematical, but if found guilty, there must be a penalty. Unlike the victims, the other accused were not found innocent, there is just not the evidence to prosecute them after so many years and so much cover-up.

I fear this decision will do little to alter views on this third "Bloody Sunday" in the recent history of Anglo-Irish struggle - but at least this time there will be action, unlike the two before.
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Re: Too little, too late?

Post by Derbiean » Thu Mar 14, 2019 3:58 pm

It reminds me of the book I have about stories from the SAS and N.ireland features in one, what struck me is, in the beginning, one of the sergeants was advising the team he was part of that now they are subject to British law and therefore they must keep their cool whatever they faced as if they shot the wrong person they would be prosecuted.

He criticised the lack of information coming from the powers that be at the time he said these guys are just coming back from fighting in Dhofar Rebellion in Oman and they had not been briefed in detail about the law, they were given a vague mission of going after the IRA and that's it. This story was around 1973, only a year after Bloody Sunday so makes me think the British soldiers at that time having to serve over there didn't think/know they were subject to the law.

Not that its going too much good for soldier f as there is no justification for shooting unarmed civilians.
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Re: Too little, too late?

Post by macliam » Thu Mar 14, 2019 5:44 pm

Derbiean wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 3:58 pm
It reminds me of the book I have about stories from the SAS and N.ireland features in one, what struck me is, in the beginning, one of the sergeants was advising the team he was part of that now they are subject to British law and therefore they must keep their cool whatever they faced as if they shot the wrong person they would be prosecuted.

He criticised the lack of information coming from the powers that be at the time he said these guys are just coming back from fighting in Dhofar Rebellion in Oman and they had not been briefed in detail about the law, they were given a vague mission of going after the IRA and that's it. This story was around 1973, only a year after Bloody Sunday so makes me think the British soldiers at that time having to serve over there didn't think/know they were subject to the law.

Not that its going too much good for soldier f as there is no justification for shooting unarmed civilians.
Unlikely as it may seem (given my background), I have every sympathy for troops posted to the North during that time. Having said which, I didn't appreciate having a Browning waved in my face at a checkpoint, even if I was the right age and driving a car registered in the Republic! I only visited Derry once in the late 70s and I wouldn't have wished the atmosphere there on anyone, let alone troops fresh from another warzone or fresh out of training. The young squaddies (not paras) looked scared to death, but the "old sweats" took the fore - and prefacing a question with "Oy, Mick..." didn't defuse the situation much :roll: Suffice it to say that when I left for "the South" (driving West, of course!), I didn't stop until I reached Athlone ...... and that's a bloody long way, via Sligo!

Derry wasn't 1 Paras first experience in the North - they're also in the dock for the Ballymurphy massacre the year before, where again, unarmed civilians were killed and then accused of being IRA. Amongst those killed was the parish priest, a 45 year-old mother shot in the face and another man shot 14 times, mostly in the back. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ballymurphy_massacre It seems fairly obvious there were some bad apples in 1 Para, it is also obvious that their crimes were covered up by their comrades, their officers, the government and the judiciary - and the victims were not just murdered, but then blamed for their own deaths. 47 years is a long time to wait for justice.

For those wondering why a hard border in Ireland is such a big deal - I never, ever want anyone to feel threatened in my own country again - and I didn't much care whether it was the Army, the IRA or the "loyalists" doing the threatening!
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Re: Too little, too late?

Post by Derbiean » Thu Mar 14, 2019 10:02 pm

macliam wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 5:44 pm
Derbiean wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 3:58 pm
It reminds me of the book I have about stories from the SAS and N.ireland features in one, what struck me is, in the beginning, one of the sergeants was advising the team he was part of that now they are subject to British law and therefore they must keep their cool whatever they faced as if they shot the wrong person they would be prosecuted.

He criticised the lack of information coming from the powers that be at the time he said these guys are just coming back from fighting in Dhofar Rebellion in Oman and they had not been briefed in detail about the law, they were given a vague mission of going after the IRA and that's it. This story was around 1973, only a year after Bloody Sunday so makes me think the British soldiers at that time having to serve over there didn't think/know they were subject to the law.

Not that its going too much good for soldier f as there is no justification for shooting unarmed civilians.
Unlikely as it may seem (given my background), I have every sympathy for troops posted to the North during that time. Having said which, I didn't appreciate having a Browning waved in my face at a checkpoint, even if I was the right age and driving a car registered in the Republic! I only visited Derry once in the late 70s and I wouldn't have wished the atmosphere there on anyone, let alone troops fresh from another warzone or fresh out of training. The young squaddies (not paras) looked scared to death, but the "old sweats" took the fore - and prefacing a question with "Oy, Mick..." didn't defuse the situation much :roll: Suffice it to say that when I left for "the South" (driving West, of course!), I didn't stop until I reached Athlone ...... and that's a bloody long way, via Sligo!

Derry wasn't 1 Paras first experience in the North - they're also in the dock for the Ballymurphy massacre the year before, where again, unarmed civilians were killed and then accused of being IRA. Amongst those killed was the parish priest, a 45 year-old mother shot in the face and another man shot 14 times, mostly in the back. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ballymurphy_massacre It seems fairly obvious there were some bad apples in 1 Para, it is also obvious that their crimes were covered up by their comrades, their officers, the government and the judiciary - and the victims were not just murdered, but then blamed for their own deaths. 47 years is a long time to wait for justice.

For those wondering why a hard border in Ireland is such a big deal - I never, ever want anyone to feel threatened in my own country again - and I didn't much care whether it was the Army, the IRA or the "loyalists" doing the threatening!
Yeah it described the scenarios for the SAS in a very similar light to what you've put. It describes a time when the SAS are going to conduct a covert operation in the attic of an informant, in order to get in the house without being seen the regular army make a big show of turning the whole street upside down by arresting IRA suspects (including the informant for show) and they did by storming into the houses and as you can imagine they were extremely rough about it, so much so the SAS soldiers watching it from a van are shocked by the behaviour of the army, one of them exclaims;

"My god! Those troops are acting like ***** thugs!" to which the sergeant said "Its because they're scared, you might have a dicker with a gun, a housewife who stabs you in the stomach with a breadknife not mention the possibility of booby traps, so they want to get it over with as quickly as possible, its why they inevitably trash the houses they go in they dont have time to be polite"


Its a real shame more didn't adopt the same attitude as the sergeant in question he was very clued up about the whole situation yet the army intelligence never talked to him about what he knew :eh:
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Re: Too little, too late?

Post by blythburgh » Fri Mar 15, 2019 9:36 am

I agree. Maybe if this boil had been lanced at the time the radicalisation on both sides would have been less. And less terrorist atrocities would have happened.

But you had very genuine grievances in the "Roman Catholic" community as Northern Ireland smacked of South Africa at the time. And firebrands like Ian Paisley were whipping things up in the "Protestant" community

So maybe even lancing this boil would not have made a great difference
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Re: Too little, too late?

Post by macliam » Fri Mar 15, 2019 12:52 pm

blythburgh wrote:
Fri Mar 15, 2019 9:36 am
I agree. Maybe if this boil had been lanced at the time the radicalisation on both sides would have been less. And less terrorist atrocities would have happened.

But you had very genuine grievances in the "Roman Catholic" community as Northern Ireland smacked of South Africa at the time. And firebrands like Ian Paisley were whipping things up in the "Protestant" community

So maybe even lancing this boil would not have made a great difference
Due to events that followed, people lump this in with "The Troubles". But at the time, people were demonstrating for civil rights - primarily the right to vote! With all this kerfuffle about referendums and direct democracy, it seems crazy to think that less than 50 years ago there was a part of the UK where people had no right to vote unless they owned property..... which meant that the average working man had no say. That this peaceful demonstration was banned by Stormont, and then UK troops used to enforce the riot act tells you all you need to know.

So, when you say "very genuine grievances in the "Roman Catholic" community ", I guess the partition of your country to make you a minority and then not having the right to vote might be considered "grievances". Had the UK government actually enforced the rules applying to the rest of the UK, there might not have been such problems - but then, they still don't "interfere" with the way a minority (in the overall population) want to run things, do they. Think if Bradford was given self-rule, allowed to use Sharia law and you could only vote if you attend the Mosque - seem fair???
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Re: Too little, too late?

Post by pabenny » Fri Mar 15, 2019 4:04 pm

macliam wrote:
Fri Mar 15, 2019 12:52 pm
... people were demonstrating for civil rights - primarily the right to vote! … people had no right to vote unless they owned property...
I never realised that. I always had the impression it was "just" that Catholics were treated as second class citizens.
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Re: Too little, too late?

Post by macliam » Fri Mar 15, 2019 6:18 pm

pabenny wrote:
Fri Mar 15, 2019 4:04 pm
macliam wrote:
Fri Mar 15, 2019 12:52 pm
... people were demonstrating for civil rights - primarily the right to vote! … people had no right to vote unless they owned property...
I never realised that. I always had the impression it was "just" that Catholics were treated as second class citizens.
Don't beat yourself up - a trick "the powers that be" learned early was to hide the truth behind the outrage. Big up the bomb and the bullet and put the issues on page 9.

How many people realise that the attacks in Birmingham and Guildford, etc. were in response to the lack of coverage to events in NI? The Provos reckoned that nobody in the UK would take any notice unless they too were threatened - and, guess what.....

There are many things that people don't know, or don't recognize, about the North - many still don't know the difference between NI and the Republic, many still call it "Ulster"**, many think the problems were just religious or caused by the IRA. The truth is far more compelling.

**The Province of Ulster has nine counties. The three catholic-majority ones were ceded to the Republic at partition. In the Republic, NI is normally referred to as "The North" or "The Six Counties".
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Re: Too little, too late?

Post by blythburgh » Sat Mar 16, 2019 10:05 am

Because our household had The Daily Telegraph and The Daily Mirror delivered I had a balanced view of things from an early age. The Telegraph was very informative in the early 1970's. I was shocked that if you were a part of the Roman Catholic community in Northern Ireland then you did not have many rights that the Protestant community took for granted. I learnt that political borders were set so that the Protestant community got the maximum number of their people elected. That the best jobs were exclusively for "Protestant" workers.

One of the saddest things I heard out of the troubles was a woman who said her family was forced out of their home when she was a child. The next door neighbours were close friends with her parents, baby sat for each other, she called them Uncle and Aunty. One day they knocked on the door as said you have a couple of hours to get out as we are going to burn your house down.
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Re: Too little, too late?

Post by macliam » Sat Mar 16, 2019 1:28 pm

blythburgh wrote:
Sat Mar 16, 2019 10:05 am
One of the saddest things I heard out of the troubles was a woman who said her family was forced out of their home when she was a child. The next door neighbours were close friends with her parents, baby sat for each other, she called them Uncle and Aunty. One day they knocked on the door as said you have a couple of hours to get out as we are going to burn your house down.
Whatever the tradition, I just can't understand that - but I know it happened and I hope never to see such things again. In the UK, whatever the Party, there was either no understanding of the issues or no interest in addressing them.

In 1981, the time of the Hunger strikes, I shared a flat with a colleague, who was a union activist whose girlfriend worked for the Labour Party. Obviously the question of NI came up - and my colleague blithely said "The solution is easy. You just have to decide which side loses." and seemed genuinely shocked when I jokingly said "If you ever get to power, I'll shoot you!!" :wtf:

But I did then explain that I didn't want either side to "lose" in that way - and that it was the "political solutions" that were killing people today. That was my view then and it hasn't changed - in the words of Bobby Sands "our revenge will be in the laughter of our children"
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