Pictures from Troops Out Movement delegations
to Derry Bloody Sunday Commemorations
can be viewed here

 

BLOODY SUNDAY

 

 

The Bloody Sunday Murder Victims:

John (Jackie) Duddy (17). Shot in the chest in the car park of Rossville flats. Four witnesses stated Duddy was unarmed and running away from the paratroopers when he was killed. Uncle of Irish boxer John Duddy.

Patrick Joseph Doherty (31). Shot from behind while attempting to crawl to safety in the forecourt of Rossville flats.

Bernard McGuigan (41). Shot in the back of the head when he went to help Patrick Doherty. He had been waving a white handkerchief.

Hugh Pious Gilmour (17). Shot through his right elbow, the bullet then entering his chest as he ran from the paratroopers on Rossville Street .

Kevin McElhinney (17). Shot from behind while attempting to crawl to safety at the front entrance of the Rossville Flats.

Michael Gerald Kelly (17). Shot in the stomach while standing near the rubble barricade in front of Rossville Flats.

John Pius Young (17). Shot in the head while standing at the rubble barricade.

William Noel Nash (19). Shot in the chest near the barricade. Witnesses stated Nash was unarmed and going to the aid of another when killed.

Michael M McDaid (20). Shot in the face at the barricade as he was walking away from the paratroopers.

James Joseph Wray (22). Wounded then shot again at close range while lying on the ground.

Gerald Donaghy (17). Shot in stomach while trying to run to safety between Glenfada Park and Abbey Park.

Gerald (James) McKinney (34). Shot in the chest just after Gerald Donaghy.

William Anthony McKinney (27). Shot from behind as he attempted to aid Gerald McKinney (no relation).

John Johnston (59). Shot in the leg and left shoulder on William Street 15 minutes before the rest of the shooting started. Johnston was not on the march. He died four-and-a-half months later. His death has been attributed to the injuries he received on the day.

 



Mural in memory of the Bloody Sunday murder victims

 


Bloody Sunday murder victims memorial

 

See feature on those murdered on Bloody Sunday click here

 

 

The Bloody Sunday Murder Survivorstml

The following accounts appeared in either Ireland on Sunday or BBC News in 1999-2000:


Mickey Bradley

Mickey Bradley was 22-years-old when he was shot in both arms and the lower chest. He now has limited use of his right arm and hand after the nerves were shattered. He says the events of Bloody Sunday have never left him and have dictated the course of his life. "I live, eat and sleep Bloody Sunday. It never goes away."

The strain of the events in 1972 have put immense pressure on his personal life. A married man expecting his first child when he was shot, his first marriage later broke down. He says his second marriage is under strain. "I'm putting her under stress, I know I am, but I can't help it. It's all the stress and the pressure. Our wives are living a mental torture. She's the one who's there when I wake up in the night punching the pillow with all the anger coming out, shouting "Why Lord, why?"

Mickey Bradley says that giving evidence to the Saville inquiry will be a traumatic experience he, as "a living victim" will not be spared.

"You can't dig up the dead. We're the people who are going to get insulted by this inquiry. We're the ones who're going to talk for the dead. There weren't fourteen people shot that day - there were twenty eight."

Alana Burke

Alana Burke, who was 18-years-old, joined the march halfway through, "to see what fellas would be there". When violence broke out, she tried to run away but was in collision with an army personnel carrier. She was taken to hospital with crushed vertebrae.

"My solicitor gave me my file the other day and I went through it page by page and I was just in tears. I only fully realised then that I had been in an ambulance with two dead bodies. And the smell of blood - I can still smell the blood in my nostrils."

Alana, now 46-years-old, has had one child, but childbirth was complicated because of the damage to her womb. She eventually had to have a hysterectomy and she and her husband adopted their second child. She says the trauma has affected her marriage.

"You try to talk about it, but you can't and you end up taking it out on all those close to you."

The living wounded may feel overlooked by the public, by the media and by the Widgery inquiry, but Alana Burke believes they will play a crucial role in the Saville inquiry.

"The wounded are overlooked, but that is our gem. They don't know what we're going to say. There's enough of us left to make a mark and the truth is going to come out, if we've got anything to do with it."

Peggy Deery

In October 1971 Peggy Deery buried her husband after a long illness. She was left a young widow with fourteen children ranging in age from sixteen years to ten months.

She was in the waste ground close to the car park of the Rossville Flats when a paratrooper shot her in the thigh shortly after 4.10pm. The soldier who shot her approached and she was sure he was going to shoot her again. She pleaded with him in the name of her fourteen children. "Please mister, I'm all they have!" He ran off and left her, after which she was helped to a house in Chamberlain Street by some men.

Her eldest daughter Margaret, just 15-years-old, became mother to her brood for the several months Peggy spent in hospital. Local priest Fr Tom O'Gara became a great mentor and friend, visiting her children every night with food and his guitar. The happiest memory the Deery children have of their mother was the day she returned home from hospital.

Everything changed for the Deery family after Bloody Sunday. Their mother was never the same.

She became fearful for her children's safety and asked them to promise they would never go on a civil rights march. Her worst fears were realised when two of her children died tragically. Her 23-year-old son Michael died after a fight in 1986. 31-year-old Patrick was blown up with another IRA volunteer as they primed a bomb in 1987. It was too heavy a blow for a woman already over-burdened by pain and sorrow. On 26th January 1988 Peggy died, aged just 53 years.

Patrick McDaid

Patrick McDaid was one of the men who helped the wounded Peggy Deery to the safety of No. 33 Chamberlain Street. He then decided to try and reach the Rossville Flats forecourt where he thought he would be safe. Young Jackie Duddy lay dying in the car park as the sound of high-velocity gunfire echoed all around. It was a scene of utter desolation and abandonment. Three or four souls crouched beside him trying to offer medical and spiritual assistance.

A small group of men decided they would make a dash for the alleyway leading from the car park to the back of Joseph Place, just beyond the Rossville Flats forecourt. In scenes reminiscent of Sarajevo, they started to make a run for it, one at a time. Patrick almost made it to safety. Near the alleyway he saw a low wall and decided to dive across it. As he did a paratrooper fired. It was the luckiest dive of his life. "Only for that split-second dive I would be dead. The dive meant the bullet only grazed me in the back. That's how close it was!"

The ambulance which took him to hospital also carried the remains of Paddy Doherty. Patrick McDaid was 24-years-old and unmarried at the time. He worked as a plumber for the city council. He is now the father of three children.

Patrick McDaid is sceptical about the new Bloody Sunday inquiry. "I can't see them being honest and admitting that it was planned and deliberately executed."

Patrick Campbell

Patrick Campbell was in his mid-50's when he was shot in the small of his back. The bullet lodged in him and was never fully removed. He was in the Rossville Flats forecourt when hit, close to where Barney McGuigan and Paddy Doherty died. He was married with nine children.

After being shot, Patrick was placed in a car which rushed him to hospital. However, when the car reached Craigavon Bridge, the driver and a passenger were arrested by British soldiers.

He was then driven by the military to the underside of Craigavon Bridge and put into an armoured car which contained another of the wounded, 20-year-old Joe Friel. Friel said he could see steam rising from Patrick's body and thought he was close to death.

In the intimate terror and vulnerability of that moment, both men clasped each others hands and began to cry.

Once in a while, Patrick spoke to his eldest son, John, about his experience. He told him how he feared for his life. At one point, an officer placed the cold steel of a pistol to Patrick's forehead. "Holy God! They are going to finish me," he thought.

"That put a great fear in him," said John. "He had great fear of soldiers afterwards."

Patrick Campbell died, a broken man, in 1984.

Daniel McGowan

Daniel McGowan was 38-years-old when he was shot on Bloody Sunday. He was married and with eight children and his wife, Teresa, was expecting their ninth. They now have ten children. He worked as a maintenance operator at DuPont.

When the shooting began, he found himself in the forecourt of the Rossville Flats, not quite sure which way to run. Daniel went to the aid of Patrick Campbell after he had been wounded. He assisted Campbell to an alleyway at the back of Joseph Place. Daniel then began to ascend steps which lead to Fahan Street but quickly retreated when he saw a soldier positioned on the ramparts of the Derry Walls looking down the barrel of his rifle at him.

He had just reached the bottom of the steps when his right leg crumpled beneath him. An eyewitness to his wounding said he thought the shot which hit Daniel "might have come from [the] old city walls..."

Daniel remains deeply traumatised by the experience of Bloody Sunday. He is unable to express himself adequately. "It changed everything," he says. He is emotional and fights back the tears. He begins a litany of the wounded: "Michael Bradley". Pause. "Mickey Bridge". Pause. He is about to name someone else but ends abruptly. "Can't talk," he says.

Daniel Gillespie

Daniel Gillespie has the distinction of being omitted by the Lord Chief Justice of England, Lord Widgery, from his list of wounded, in his infamous 'Widgery Report'. Daniel did not attend hospital and was treated locally for his wound to the head, but his wounding was known locally and among the press.

He recalls a tall English gentleman arriving at his home two days after Bloody Sunday. "Are you Daniel Gillespie?" "Yes". "You were wounded on Sunday?" "Yes". "Mr Gillespie, where was the gunman standing when you were shot?" Daniel looked at him, momentarily stunned by his arrogance. Instinctively he drew back and felled the gentleman with a heavy smack to the face. He fell over the low garden fence and ran away.

"I was very very lucky" he recalls. A bullet grazed his head, carving out a groove which required several stitches. As he tried to pick himself up, a young man asked: "Are you all right, mister?" "The next thing I heard was a grunt and he fell on top of me. I managed to push him off and I ran through the laneway into Abbey Park. As I ran, I heard several other shots behind me."

Daniel was 27-years-old when shot and worked as a steel erector. He was married with four children, ranging from eight to two-years-old. Neither he nor his wife spoke to their children about Bloody Sunday. It was only when he was visited by a television crew a few years ago did they discover their father's lucky escape.

Joseph Friel

"Mr Friel is an extremely lucky young man", surgeon Harry Bennett wrote on his medical record in 1972. He later said: "Mr Friel, you're better being born lucky instead of rich."

Joe Friel ran across Rossville Street to Glenfada Park when the shooting began. He heard a boy named Gregory Wild shout: "There's the Brits!" As he turned to look, Joe saw paratroopers appear at the north-eastern end of Glenfada. The forward para was firing from the hip and after three or four shots, Joe felt a thump in his chest and he immediately began to spurt blood. "I'm shot! I'm shot!" he cried as he ran into Abbey Park.

He was taken to a house in Lisfannon Park where he received some first-aid treatment from a young paramedic named Evelyn Lafferty. Several old ladies appeared and began to say the rosary over him. "Oh No!" he thought, thinking he must be dying.

He was taken in a white car to hospital, accompanied by three people. At Barrack Street they were pulled out of the car leaving him alone in the back seat. A soldier and a policeman sat into the front of the car and drove off. The policeman commented: "That's what you get for playing with guns." Joe kicked the back of the seat in protest. The soldier driving immediately braked and said: "If you are going to behave like that you can lie there and die, you Irish bastard."

He was transferred to the back of an armoured car where he was later joined by Patrick Campbell.

Today, Joe is both traumatised and sceptical. "Jim Wray was my friend. I was shot where he fell. If I had fallen, the soldier who shot him would have finished me off, too. I have gone through guilt. The guilt of surviving. The guilt that asks, why me? Why am I here now?"

Joe is sceptical about the Saville inquiry and the concept of British justice. "The two words don't belong in the same sentence," he argues. He believes Bloody Sunday was planned and that the presence of senior British army generals in Derry that afternoon lends weight to his belief.

Joe worked with the British Inland Revenue when he was shot. He is now retired due to ill health resulting from Bloody Sunday. He is married with three children, aged twenty four, twenty and ten-years-old.

Michael Quinn

Michael Quinn had just turned 17-years-old and was still at school when he was shot. He was quite literally a twitch of a head away from certain death. As he ran across Glenfada Park towards Abbey Park, he was shot from behind. The bullet ripped the right shoulder of his jacket before blowing away almost half his cheek bone and exiting through his nose.

Michael was helped through Abbey Park and reached Butcher Street were he received medical help from two female Knights of Malta. They had to persuade him to lie on the ground since he wanted to remain standing. "I felt there was less wrong with me if I stood up." He remembers asking: "Can someone please get a car to get me out of here". There was much confusion and panic.

Michael recalls lying in the hospital casualty asking: "Why did they shoot us when we weren't doing anything?" Twenty-eight years later he is still asking the same question.

He laughs when I ask him if Bloody Sunday still haunts him. "Having been shot in the face, it's never too far from your thoughts. When you look in the mirror in the morning you are reminded of it. In that sense, it's very hard to get away from it. They are memories you'd rather try and forget."

Michael graduated from Maynooth College with a BA Bachelor in history and sociology in 1977. He now resides in a suburb of Dublin with his wife and three children.

Joseph Mahon

Like skittles in a bowling alley, 16-year-old Joe Mahon was one of three people who fell close to one another in Glenfada Park. He noticed paratroopers appearing at the north-eastern entrance to Glenfada Park and thinking it was an arrest operation, bolted towards the exit leading to Abbey Park. He saw the leading para fire from the hip.

Joe fell in the middle. To his right was Jim Wray and to his left, he thinks, was William McKinney. The latter was an older man wearing thick glasses and a heavy coat. He looked at young Mahon and said: "I'm hit! I'm hit!" He then began to moan.

Joe was about to leave school to begin an apprenticeship as a joiner. That afternoon in Glenfada Park he had a premonition which caused him to remain absolutely still and pretend he was dead. At the time he did not realise he had been shot through the right hip bone and that a bullet was now lodged at the back of his left hip. He was conscious of Jim Wray speaking to people in hiding and making a desperate but unsuccessful attempt to rise.

Mahon then heard the approaching footsteps of a para. Casually the soldier walked past him and as he drew level with Jim Wray he fired two bullets into his back. It was the execution of an already wounded man. Young Joe watched in terror as the paratrooper continued towards the alleyway leading to Abbey Park, through which several people,including three wounded, had escaped.

He heard the para fire at least three more rounds through the alleyway. Young Joe recognised a Scottish accent when the soldier boasted: "I've got another one." Mahon then heard a paratrooper call from behind: "Okay Dave, we're pulling out."

Before retreating 'Dave' walked towards Joe and the now slain Jim Wray again. Joe saw him remove his helmet to wipe his brow. Above a blackened face, Joe could see tightly-cropped fair hair.

Joe listened as the soldiers withdrew. He waited for what seemed like an eternity to be sure the paratroopers had fully retreated from Glenfada Park. He then made a near fatal error. As he turned his head to check, his worst nightmares were realised. Standing, looking in his direction, was 'Dave'. The para saw Joe's movement. Realising the boy was alive and a witness to his deeds, Dave dropped on one knee and took aim. Mahon looked away, sure that his end had come.

Just then a young female paramedic arrived on the scene and ran into Glenfada Park shouting: "Don't shoot - First Aid". Dave turned the barrel of his rifle in her direction and fired one round before withdrawing. Joe is convinced it was the last round he had. The young paramedic recoiled, the bullet ripping through a trouser leg and narrowly missing her ankle. Her name was Evelyn Lafferty - and Joe owes her his life.

Evelyn ran back into Glenfada and proceeded to check the dead and wounded. She gave medical assistance to Joe and later visited him in hospital.

In 1973, Joe and Evelyn began to see each other on a regular basis. In March 1974, they married. They have five children, ranging in ages from twenty five to sixteen.

Joe remains resolute in his determination to see justice done. "Deep down what bugs me is that I don't want this guy to get away. I saw him shooting Jim Wray and I am willing to say in court that I saw him do it. He knew the man wasn't armed. He knew the man was already wounded. And he came up and fired two more rounds in his back. It was murder. If that was me or some fellow from Creggan we would have been in jail long ago. It has just been covered up."

 



PPPPicturesic

ur

The residents of Derry assemble for the march for civil rights
and against internment.

 


The march gets underway.

 


A British Army soldier manhandles a demonstrator under gunpoint
- towards 'interrogation'.

 


The 'brick' of Paratroopers are photographed murdering demonstrators
at the rubble barricade before turning their gunfire on Glenfada Park,
Abbey Park and St. Joseph's Place.

 


17-year-old Michael Kelly falls at the rubble barricade murdered by soldier F
(one of the paratroopers in the previous picture photographed
in the process of committing murder).

 


Paddy Walsh bravely (but vainly) crawls out to help Paddy Doherty,
who was murdered by Soilder F while crawling for cover in
St. Joseph's Place behind the Rossville Flats.




Barney McGuigan lays dead.
Soldier F murdered him with a well-aimed shot through the back of the head.
Barney McGuigan was waving a white handkerchief.
He had gone to the aid of Patrick Doherty who himself lay mortally wounded.
In the background lies Hugh Gilmour, murdered while trying to escape
the gunfire directed at those at the rubble barricade.

 


Hugh Gilmour dies after attempting to escape from the murderous onslaught.




Traumatised civil rights marchers witness
the murder of Barney McGuigan
.




The first murder victim.
Jackie Duddy lies dying as Father Daly administers the last rites.

 


The attempt to save Jackie Duddy's life was in vain.

 


The wounded John Johnston was to die
a few months after Bloody Sunday,
becoming the fourteenth murder victim.
John Johnston was one of the first
people to be shot on the day.




"And our civil rights banner was stained bloody red."
Barney McGuigan's blood stains the Derry Civil Rights Association banner.




Traumatised and heartbroken mourners attend the
Funeral Mass at the Creggan Chapel on 3rd February 1972.

 

 



Those who have Questions to Answer

 


Colonel Derek Wilford

 


General Robert Ford

 


General Sir Michael Jackson

 


Lord Widgery

 


Sir Edward Heath

Revealing details of the Widgery Report
to the British Parliament in 1973,
he said of Lord Widgery:
"All shades of opinion sincerely concerned
with the truth must feel indebted to
him for his objective and painstaking
analysis of events".

 

 

BLOODY SUNDAY INQUIRY 2003
Troops Out Movement Report


January

The Bloody Sunday Inquiry, sitting in London, heard that in October 1971, former British Prime Minister Edward Heath, instructed the British Army to carry out an assessment of the measures they would propose "if they were instructed that the primary goal was to bring terrorism to an end at the earliest moment, without regard to the inconvenience to the civilian population".

The minutes of the Cabinet Committee of Northern Ireland, GEN47, of 6th October 1971, record Heath as saying that the first priority should be to defeat the "gunmen" by military means and that the government "would have to accept whatever political penalties were inevitable".

In his statement to the Inquiry, Heath said that he did not know to what political penalties he was referring.

February

Soldier 151 admitted giving a false statement because "we knew we had done something dreadfully wrong". He told the Inquiry "There were two RMP's (military police officers) in the interview room and I recall that I found the interview intimidating", adding "I was terrified of the RMP, they were a law unto themselves".

Under cross examination, he sensationally admitted "I did not write the statement myself. I just signed it at the end of the interview".

PSNI chief, Hugh Orde described the Bloody Sunday Inquiry as "a waste of money". He said it was time to forget Bloody Sunday and other controversial past killings by the British Army and police.

March

Diary records from witness INQ179 - a former major in the Coldstream Guards - were read out to the Inquiry. INQ179 wrote in his diary on the day of Bloody Sunday that he was horrified by the Paras' actions, adding: "Words cannot describe what a dreadful and ghastly regiment that is".

The next day he wrote in his diary: "There is something quite horrible in seeing young men shot down by totally undisciplined troops, who take pride and pleasure in this legalised murder. I saw the snatch squad of the Parachute Regiment (1st Battallion) bring in civilian prisoners - the way these savage, trained terrorists treated those civilians was beyond description."

April

Lieutenant Colonel Derek Wilford said at the Bloody Sunday Inquiry that he was unable to accept that those killed on Bloody Sunday were innocent.

Michael Mansfield QC, representing the families of two of the victims, highlighted that legal representatives for the British Army had already indicated to the Inquiry that they believed those killed were innocent. But Col Wilford, who admitted that he had not been following the Inquiry's proceedings, said "I have not been shown evidence that this is the case".

Colonel Wilford was also questioned about how he managed to miss "99%" of the shootings carried out by his troops in the Bogside during Bloody Sunday. In his original statement to the Saville Inquiry, Colonel Wilford said that he only witnessed one soldier fire one shot.

May

A senior MI5 manager - 'E' - giving evidence anonymously and from behind a curtain, told the Bloody Sunday Inquiry in London that she had, the previous week, read the statements of other officers scheduled to testify on the same topic. She said: "Council to the Inquiry agreed that we should be aware of each other's evidence, there were sort of no surprises ...".

An amazed Barry McDonald QC, represeting some of the Bloody Sunday families said: "Say that again. Council to the Inquiry suggested that you read the statements ...?"

'E' replied: "Well our legal advisors told us that it had been agreed that we could read the statements ..."

Seeking clarity, McDonald asked: "Do you mean your own council, council for the Security Services?" '

E' replied: "No. Council to the Inquiry."

Ensuring no confusion in the matter, McDonald, in almost disbelief, seeked confirmation. He asked: "Coucil to the Inquiry?"

'E' confirmed the obvious collusion: "Yes", she replied.

Unfortunately, 'E' was not pressed on her description of council to the Inquiry as "our legal advisors."

June

General Sir Michael Jackson, Britain's most senior soldier, faced allegations of having played a key role in the cover up of the Bloody Sunday killings. Documents from 1972, apparently in his handwriting, gave what lawyers to the Bloody Sunday families insisted was an inaccurate account of the shootings.

Michael Mansfield QC, representing two of the families, characterised one of the documents - a 'shot list' - dated 31st January 1972, in Jackson's handwriting as a "fabrication".

It was signed by Major Edward Loden, commander of 'support company' . However, the body of the document was in a different handwriting, which the legal team representing most of the soldiers - including Jackson and Loden - agreed was Jackson's.

July

Soldier 'P', a corporal in the Parachute regiment on the day of Bloody Sunday, said in his written evidence to the Saville Inquiry: "I have no recollection of firing my weapon or of seeing or hearing others firing weapons".

But in 1972, the witness made two statements. In the first, on the evening of Bloody Sunday, he claimed he fired eleven shots in Rossville Street, killing a gunman and a nail bomber and firing warning shots over the heads of a hostile crowd. In the second statement, two days later, he claimed he fired only nine shots.

Christopher Clarke QC, council to the Inquiry, told the witness that he and another soldier (Soldier 'J') were the only candidates so far responsible for the shooting of Michael McDaid, William Nash, John Young and Hugh Gilmour. Soldier 'P' denied the allegation.

Arthur Harvey QC, for the majority of the Bloody Sunday families, suggested that Soldier 'P' did not hit a gunman with three shots, but shot three people who were taking cover behind the rubble barricade with one bullet each. The witness denied this.

"I suggest to you that you do not have any failure of memory, what you have is a failure of conscience" Mr Harvey said. The witness denied this was the case.

August

The Bloody Sunday Inquiry broke for the summer recess.

September

The officer in charge of the platoon believed to be responsible for eleven of the fatal shootings on Bloody Sunday told the Saville Inquiry that he could not remember seeing any of his men open fire at targets.

Arthur Harvey QC, for the majority of the families, asked Lieutenant 119, who was commander of the seventeen members of the Anti-Tank Platoon in the Parachute regiment: "The men that you were in charge of could well have killed eleven people and seriously wounded seven others; that is eighteen people in all within a space, that in truth and in fact, is not greatly different than the size of this courtroom. How effective have you been able to estimate your command and control of those men on January 30th 1972?"

Lieutenant 119 replied: "I believe that in my own conduct and in the conduct of the NCO's who commanded the little groups, it was as it should be."

Mr Harvey continued: "After the Widgery Inquiry did you re-evaluate your command and control of your men?"

'119' answered: "No, I did not."

Mr Harvey said:"Even though Lord Widgery came to a conclusion that your soldiers fired probably without justification and probably at a crowd that was fleeing from them in Glenfada Park and that they had fired, probably recklessly; you did not re-evaluate what you could have done to have avoided that situation arising as a commander?"

Lieutenant 119 answered: "Not that I recall sir, I got on with my career."

October

Soldier 'F' who had previously acknowledged that he had shot three of those who were killed on Bloody Sunday - Michael Kelly, William McKinney and Patrick Doherty - admitted to having in fact, killed four demonstrators.

Under intense questioning by Michael Mansfield QC, the reluctant Soldier 'F' was eventually left with no credible alternative but to admit, for the first time, that he had killed 41-year-old Barney McGuigan, who had been waving a white handkerchief at the time, whilst going to the aid of the mortally wounded Patrick Doherty.

When asked by Mr Mansfield if he would finally admit shooting Mr McGuigan to his wife and six children, who were sitting in the public gallery, soldier 'F' nonchalantly said "yes".

The Inquiry was forced to adjourn for several minutes as Barney McGuigan's widow, Bridie, was led away in tears by her family, followed by distraught members of other victims' families.

At the end of the evidence, soldier 'F' was warned that he had given perjured evidence to the Widgery Tribunal in 1972 and to the current Inquiry.

He was warned that the evidence now suggested that he had shot the men without justification - that is to say that he murdered them.

Soldier 'F' said this was incorrect, insisting he only fired at bombers and gunmen.

Soldier 'H' also gave evidence in October.

A number of witnesses had previously given evidence to the Inquiry that 22-year-old Jim Wray was killed by a soldier at close range in Glenfada Park after being shot in the back .Soldier 'H' admitted shooting a youth after aiming at the centre of his back in Glenfada Park, but said this person had staggered away clutching his shoulder.

Lord Gifford QC, council for the Wray family, referred to claims by another paratrooper, Soldier 027, that Soldier 'H' had fired from the hip at a range of twenty yards, killing one man and wounding another.

Soldier 027 had said: "He then moved forward and fired again, killing the wounded man."

Soldier 'H' fired twenty two shots on Bloody Sunday.

He claimed that he fired nineteen of these at a gunman behind a frosted window in Glenfada Park. However, under questioning from Michael Mancfied QC, he conceded this incident could not have occurred in Glenfada Park.

Even Lord Widgery, in his report of the first Inquiry in 1972, rejected claims Soldier 'H' had fired nineteen times at the same target. He said these shots were "wholly unaccounted for."

Séamus Treacy QC, council to some of the victims' relatives, accused Soldier 'H' of being a systematic liar who had failed to account for the large number of shots he had fired on that day.

Mr Treacy put it to him: "The reason that you have failed to account for those large number of shots is that you may well have killed and injured many other people on that day than you are admitting to."

Soldier 'H' dismissed the accusation.

Soldier 203 admitted joining the UDA after Bloody Sunday.

Soldier150, who drove the car of Gerald Donaghy, said he did not see any nail bombs on the body and certainly would not have driven the car if there had been nail bombs on Mr Donaghy's body. "I am sure if there had been a nail bomb or bombs in the man's pockets I would have seen them" he said.

November

Sinn Féin's Martin McGuinness gave evidence to the Saville Inquiry about his knowledge of Bloody Sunday.

Immediately, the British media were stirred into a reporting frenzy, displaying a desire for information on the proceedings not previously demonstrated.

Four, five and six minute reports replaced the one-liners on British television news. Column upon column and article after article appeared in the press. A media scrum assembled at the Guildhall in Derry for Mr McGuinness' evidence, forcing exasperated family members to protest on the Guildhall steps.

"This has absolutely nothing to do with Bloody Sunday thirty years ago" said a frustrated Gerry Duddy, brother of Jackie, the first and youngest of those murdered, "it's about politics today."

December

The Inquiry continues to hear evidence from IRA members present on the day.

As Fern Lane stated in the article 'Selective Interests - Bloody Sunday Inquiry' (see below):"Number of people killed and wounded by the British Army on Bloody Sunday: 28

"Number of people killed and wounded by the IRA on Bloody Sunday: 0"

 

 

Selective Interests - Bloody Sunday Inquiry
An Phoblacht 13/11/03

By Fern Lane


Lord Saville


After the treatment of Martin McGuinness by Lord Saville at the Bloody Sunday Inquiry last week, it might be interesting to muse a little on the objectivity of both the distinguished Lord in his manner of conducting the inquiry, and on that of the British media, which turned up in vast numbers for the first time at the Guildhall, Derry, on day 390 of the inquiry to pick over in minute detail the evidence given by Martin McGuinness. So, consider the following:

Some of the things about the Bloody Sunday inquiry that the British media has not been interested in:

• the refusal of Edward Heath to answer questions about Bloody Sunday and Lord Saville's failure to ensure that he did.

• the possibility that one of the most senior serving officers in the British Army, Colonel Mike Jackson, perjured himself to the inquiry.

• the possibility that in 1972 senior MoD legal officials, particularly Colonel Ted Overbury, doctored soldier's statements in order to cover up or justify the shootings.

• the refusal of the MoD to submit crucial documentary evidence to the inquiry.

• the destruction, by the MoD, of the surviving rifles used by the soldiers on Bloody Sunday, as well as film and photographic evidence.

• the retraction by the former army forensics officer, Dr John Martin, of all his evidence to the Widgery inquiry.

• the repeated attempts by the current British Secretary of State for Defence to thwart the inquiry.

The media has also not been interested in:

• the evidence that the 1972 Stormont Regime, personified by John Taylor, wanted the British army to undertake a policy of shooting Catholic civilians in an attempt to maintain control.

• the fact that General Ford also advocated such a policy in Derry shortly before Bloody Sunday.

• the testimony of photographers that they were shot at by British solders on Bloody Sunday to stop them recording what was going on.

• the revelation that one of the British Army soldiers involved in Bloody Sunday, 203, joined the UDA shortly after.

• the testimony of one former British Army major, who wrote in his diary that the Paras were a 'dreadful and ghastly' regiment, consisting of 'savage, trained terrorists' who took pleasure in 'legalised murder' and whose treatment of civilians on Bloody Sunday was 'beyond description'.

• that Soldiers F, H and others were accused, during the Saville inquiry, of murder.

Things the British media has been interested in:

• Martin McGuinness.

• the IRA; um, let's see. No, that's it.

Questions that Lord Saville has allowed counsel to the inquiry and lawyers representing British soldiers to ask Martin McGuinness:

• the identity of members of the IRA on Bloody Sunday.

• the activities of the IRA before and after Bloody Sunday.

• the activities of Martin McGuinness before and after Bloody Sunday.

• his membership or otherwise of organisations other than the IRA (long) before Bloody Sunday.

• the exact locations of safe houses and arms dumps in 1972 and the owners of those houses.

Questions that, between them, Lord Saville, the British judiciary and the British government have not allowed lawyers for the families to inquire into:

• the identity of the members of 1 Para who carried out the killings.

• the identity of British agents and intelligence service personnel on Bloody Sunday.

• the activities of the members of 1 Para responsible for the shootings whilst on duty elsewhere in the Six Counties before and after Bloody Sunday - even when this involved the systematic abuse and indeed shooting of civilians.

• the UDA activities of Soldier 203 after Bloody Sunday.

• the evidence of the British agent 'Infliction'.

• anything Edward Heath did not want to answer.

People Lord Saville has threatened with jail for refusing to answer questions to the inquiry:

• Martin McGuinness.

• two Channel 4 journalists.

• Ian Paisley.

People who will not face the threat of jail:

• the soldiers who opened fire on unarmed civilians.

• their commanding officers.

• their political masters.

• the soldiers, MoD officials and their political masters who are suspected of perjuring themselves to both Widgery and Saville.

• soldiers who refused to answer questions.

• former British prime ministers who refused to answer questions.

Number of people killed and wounded by the British Army on Bloody Sunday:

• 28

Number of people killed and wounded by the IRA on Bloody Sunday:

• 0

Who, exactly, do you suppose has got something to hide?

 

 

The Legacy of Bloody Sunday Jan 30 2002
From The Derry Journal

When people speak of the victims of Bloody Sunday the first thing that springs to mind are those who died and were injured on that day and undoubtedly, they are the main victims.

But the events of Bloody Sunday impacted upon this island to a degree that changed people's lives forever and in the process we ended up with hundreds, if not thousands, of victims.

It is impossible to quantify how many people were affected by Bloody Sunday in one way or another. How many people are dead who would not have died, how many people spent years in prison because of what happened in those 27 minutes on January 30 1972, how many lives were destroyed in some way as a direct result of what happened on Bloody Sunday?

All these questions are impossible to answer, as is the question what would have happened in the North if Bloody Sunday had not taken place?

A brief look at the statistics tell their own story.

In the years preceding Bloody Sunday, 16 people died across the North in 1969, 24 in 1970 and 170 in 1971.

In 1972 after Bloody Sunday 472 people died, in 1973 that figure was 252, in 1974 there were 294 deaths, in 1975 a total of 257 died and in 1976 almost 300 people lost their lives.

In Derry itself three people died as a result of the Troubles in 1969, 1970 saw five deaths, when three IRA men died in a fire in Creggan along with two children, Bernadette and Carol McCool. In 1971, with the introduction of internment, some 22 people died in Derry but the next year, with the Bloody Sunday deaths, a total of 56 people died in Derry city alone.

The unionists and British Government attempted to regain control of the security situation on Bloody Sunday but by their actions they ensured that our society would be convulsed by war for years to come.

That war destroyed lives right across the country and few people can say they were immune from what happened. The Saville Inquiry presently hearing evidence about Bloody Sunday has set aside several witnesses so intelligence reports can be obtained on them.

By and large, these are former republican prisoners and it seems the Inquiry want reports on their activities. Ironically enough, the vast bulk of these people joined the IRA as a direct result of Bloody Sunday and were not members at the time so it is difficult to see what sort of reports can be compiled that would be of relevance to the Inquiry.

But these former prisoners are no different from the thousands of others who became involved in the Troubles as a result of Bloody Sunday.

The British state has always longed to portray the situation here as a conflict between unionists and nationalists with the British as the honest brokers trying to keep both sides apart.

Bloody Sunday changed all that as it showed the British state killing people who were ostensibly their own citizens and then lying to the world about what had happened.

Undoubtedly Bloody Sunday meant that no solution to the Northern problem was going to be found in the short term. It ensured that the conflict would intensify touching more and more lives as it did, and it radicalised a generation of nationalists who could never look on the British in the same way again.

The British Government was not aware of the consequences of its actions on Bloody Sunday. In fact, the evidence seems to point to the fact that it was quite pleased with the lesson it had handed out.

We cannot say with any certainty that if Bloody Sunday had not happened things would not have developed as they did. However, it is a fairly safe bet to say that Bloody Sunday ensured that the conflict lasted as long as it did and that the seeds of distrust sown that January day meant that, for many young nationalists, the message was clear, the British only respected physical force.

It took a long long time for that attitude to fade and another course of action to be taken. Maybe if Bloody Sunday had not occurred that journey would have been shorter and a lot less painful.

 

 

Families' Marathon Over
Republican News 13/02/04

There will be final submissions by the lawyers in the summer and Lord Saville is expected to publish his report next year. The Director of Public Prosecutions will then have to decide whether to bring charges.

If the DPP does not bring charges, then some of the families are likely to launch a private prosecution.

John Kelly, brother of Michael, 17, who was killed, said: "The evidence proves our people were totally innocent that day. They were murdered and there were attempted murders of 14 others."

A number of the relatives have been with the inquiry every day, attending hearings in Derry and in London. For almost four years, the Bloody Sunday Inquiry has been akin to a full-time job for them.

Kay Duddy's brother, Jackie, was just 17 when he was gunned down as he ran through the Rossville flats car park alongside future Bishop of Derry Dr Edward Daly.

Pictures of Dr Daly with a blood-stained handkerchief leading his body out of the Bogside have become one of the iconic images of the day.

"It has been very emotional. It has been an emotional rollercoaster listening to graphic detail, particularly in London to the soldiers - classing my brother and the others as nail bombers and gunmen," Ms Duddy said.

For the Derry woman, the worst moment came when she saw face-to-face the soldiers who killed her brother.

"I was numb. I did not feel hatred surprisingly enough - they looked everywhere except at us."

She admits that the last 32 years have had a huge impact on the Duddy family, including the six years of the Inquiry.

"One of the family was taken from us, a link in the chain was broken.

"I'll never know if he would have married, if I would have had another sister-in-law or more nieces and nephews. His life was just taken away that day," she said.

Michael McKinney's brother, William, was a compositor with the Derry Journal newspaper. A keen photographer, he had a cine camera when he was gunned down at Glenfada Park. His death was admitted by Soldier F.

He believes the inquiry has already served a useful purpose. The truth of his brother's innocence is now clearer than ever.

While the oral evidence is now to an end, Mr McKinney believes there is still much work to be done.

But the moment Soldier F admitted killing his brother was the most dramatic of the last six years for Mr McKinney.

"When I left the chamber that day, I felt my emotions coming on.

"I found myself trying to lose myself among the crowd standing across from Central Hall (in London), trying to find a corner which I couldn't do.

"It was a very strange day for me," he said.

 


Bloody Sunday families speak to the media
as the oral evidence finishes

 

 

Bloody Sunday Inquiry faces more delays
TOM News 26/03/04

The Bloody Sunday Inquiry is facing yet more delays following an unprecedented demand for access to lawyers files.

Since March 2000, more than 900 witnesses have given evidence about the events of Bloody Sunday, when on 30th January 1972, 13 Derry civil rights marchers were shot dead by members of the British Army's Parachute Regiment. A 14th person died later from the injuries and trauma inflicted on him on the day.

Today, it emerged that the tribunal has written to the legal teams, the government, the police and MI5 to request details of notes and correspondence with witnesses which had been confidential until recently.

The request follows a Court of Appeal ruling in a separate, non-related, case in England which found that this sort of material was no longer privileged information.

Those involved in the tribunal had been required to provide all relevant material, but documents covered by legal professional privilege, such as solicitors notes taken during interviews with witnesses, were exempt.

The legal teams are currently considering their positions but could refuse to hand over the material or challenge the tribunal's demand in the courts.

And even if the legal teams are eventually ordered to hand over new material, it could open the door to request and counter request for notes and correspondence from other legal teams.

Speaking to Troops Out Movement News from London this evening, where the families are currently on a TOM speaking tour of England, Michael McKinney, for the Bloody Sunday families, said: "If the Inquiry is delayed over this legal matter, we have nothing to fear.

"I would say that the soldiers who gave evidence to the Inquiry would have far more to fear from the tribunal's request for access to lawyer's files than other parties."

Lord Saville and his fellow judges were expected to deliver their report to the British Government next year.

 

 

Bloody Sunday Relatives Guests of the Troops Out Movement
TOM News 29/03/04

Two brothers of Bloody Sunday victims were in England last week as guests of the Troops Out Movement.

John Kelly, brother of Michael, and Mickey McKinney, brother of William spoke in London, They were joined in Birmingham, Coventry and Preston by Cahill McElhinney, brother of Kevin.

In Coventry they spoke at a meeting arranged to discuss the Amritsar massacre a few years after Bloody Sunday (13th April 1978) when 13 Sikh protestors were killed in the Panjaab province in circumstances similar to Bloody Sunday.

The Bloody Sunday relatives had been invited to give updates on the Inquiry, its lessons and the feelings of the families.

At the meetings, Mickey McKinney explained how the political situation in Derry at the time affected the nationalist community's voting rights, housing allocation and job opportunities and this led to the formation of the Derry Civil Rights Association.

He gave a history of the events leading up to Bloody Sunday - the 'Battle of the Bogside'; the introduction of the British Army; the introduction of internment without trial, which led to the setting up of the 'no-go' areas in Derry; the demonstration on Magilligan Strand, where demonstrators were viciously beaten off the beach by the British Parachute Regiment and the cancellation of the loyalist march that was planned for the day that became known as Bloody Sunday.

Mickey then went on to recount the events of the day itself, ending with how the British Army stated on that day's evening news that they had engaged in a gun battle with the IRA and had killed gunmen and nail bombers.

John Kelly explained that following Bloody Sunday, the victims' families would only officially meet once a year at the Bloody Sunday Commemoration. He said that it was decided that they should form the 'Bloody Sunday Justice Campaign' in 1992 on the 20th anniversary of the murders, with the aim to have the case re-opened.

John said that some people in Derry "thought we were mad for taking on the British establishment". He recalled the difficulties that faced them until, eventually, six years later Tony Blair announced to the British House of Commons that there would be a new inquiry into Bloody Sunday.

However, any optimism for a full, open, honest and transparent public inquiry was quashed when it was discovered that three days before Mr Blair's announcement to the Commons, the murder weapons were being destroyed.

"Those weapons were preserved for all those years" said John. "The British Ministry of Defence acted three days before the Inquiry was announced and destroyed evidence. It has been a continuous problem during the Inquiry. For instance, the hundreds of photographs put before Widgery and other documentation had now somehow, mysteriousy disappeared."

He told of how the 'open, independent, public inquiry' was constantly thwarted by the British establishment by way of seemingly endless High Court appeals, resulting in cypher numbers being allocated to witnesses, the screening of witnesses, Public Interest Immunity Certificates being issued and then by the Inquiry being moved to London to hear the soldiers' evidence.

John told of the emotional difficulties faced by the families during the Inquiry, especially when they faced and heard evidence from the very soldiers who had murdered their loved ones.

"The shooters' evidence was the hardest to endure" explained John "because the families were seeing, for the first time, the people who murdered our people.

"But it was worth while for us to see them, face to face, forced to give evidence that they clearly didn't want to give.

"On a personal level, to sit in the same room as the person who murdered my brother was the hardest to endure... it was."

John also told of the "collective amnesia" of the soldiers while giving evidence to the Inquiry.

He recalled the upsurge of media interest when Martin McGuinness gave evidence when the Inquiry returned to Derry and how it became "the Martin McGuinness Inquiry".

John informed the audiences that on Friday last, it emerged that the tribunal has written to the legal teams, the government, the police and MI5 to request details of notes and correspondence with witnesses which had been confidential until recently.

The request follows a Court of Appeal ruling in the BCCI case in England which found that this sort of material was no longer privileged information.

"If the Inquiry is delayed over this legal matter, the families have nothing to fear.

"I would say that the soldiers who gave evidence to the Inquiry would have far more to fear from the tribunal's request for access to lawyer's files than other parties. It is them who murdered our people.

"We've had to wait thirty two years for justice and if we have to wait another two or three years, then so be it. Because what we want is the truth - plain and simple - and hopefully, Saville will deliver that truth".

 

 

Not one soldier told the truth: The Bloody Sunday Inquiry
An Phoblacht/Republican News 10/06/04

By Fern Lane

The Bloody Sunday Inquiry was told on Monday that not one of the soldiers or their commanding officers had told the truth when they gave evidence about the events of January 1972.

The accusation came from Arthur Harvey QC, lawyer for some of the families, as the tribunal began two weeks of hearings in Derry in advance of the final oral submissions by all parties in October. The current hearings are to enable Lord Saville and his colleagues to question lawyers in detail about their written submissions and to hear evidence from one further witness.

Before answering questions on his submission, Harvey told the inquiry that, decade by decade, the army's account of what had happened had changed.

Initially, the army's case had been that it was not responsible for the killing and wounding of 27 people. It claimed that the IRA was responsible.

Then, as that case became untenable, it was changed to suggest that "those who were shot and injured fully merited what occurred, that they, either directly or indirectly, were involved in acts of terror against members of the Parachute Regiment".

Now, with that argument having been effectively disproved, the army had changed tack once again. Now, explained Harvey, the army was claiming that "not only did they shoot the 27 persons, they probably shot considerably more... but there is a conspiracy within this city to conceal the deaths of individuals who had families, who were known within the community and that the community therefore has conspired to assist this.

"The case is now, not that the defendants were not innocent, but the soldiers are innocent. They are both equally innocent, because it was the activities, not of those who were actually shot and known to be shot, but the acts of others who must have been shot, who are unidentified and have remained unidentified for an excess of 30 years, which are to blame."

This argument, he said, was "threadbare" and had been demonstrated as such "because those who were posed the questions failed the very first hurdle in any inquiry of whatever nature: they simply did not choose to tell the truth.

"It is a choice that each of these soldiers were offered, and a choice that none of them took."

Families want answers

In contrast to the changing nature of the army's account, the position of the families has always been "based upon certainties: the certainty that those who were shot and injured were innocent of any wrongdoing; the certainty that there was no justification for shooting them; the fact that there was never any objective justification for their being shot because of the actions at or close to them; and the certainty that they were not shot by mistake, that they were shot deliberately".

Nevertheless, said Harvey, these certainties did not provide answers. All the families could do was pose questions. "Those questions can only be answered by those who shot them, by those who were responsible for commanding those who shot them, and those who were responsible for designing the plan and implementing it, during the course of which they were shot... those questions, to paraphrase the language of General Jackson, required individual soldiers and their officers to look inside themselves for the courage to tell the truth. Regrettably, that has not occurred."

Lack of accountability

Further, he added, the answers to the questions posed "require that which is absent at almost every level of responsibility: clarity, attributability, accountability. That did not begin with the soldiers who fired the shots. Undoubtedly, it is substantially in their interests for there to be a lack of clarity, a lack of accountability, a lack of attributability. It did not begin with them. It began with the government at Westminster.

"The lack of clarity suits all purposes for this Inquiry except the search for the truth" he said.

"Governments come and go. It is easy for a government 20 years later to apologise. It does not relieve the grief or the anguish, nor does it provide explanations as to why things should have happened. Throughout, there has been deliberate manipulation of communication at all levels to ensure a self-serving obfuscation of the clear lines of responsibility."

For all the attempts by the British Government and the army to frustrate the inquiry, and despite the sustained attempts by each layer of command, from the British government right down to the soldiers themselves, to deny their own part in Bloody Sunday, the lines of responsibility can be clearly mapped. Firstly, said Harvey, the British Government was responsible for what occurred under Article 2 of the European Convention of Human Rights.

In addition, the Ministry of Defence had political responsibility for the Army. "The senior officers in the Army should not have been abandoned to absorb the attitudes of the Stormont government in the manner that they had by General Ford" he said.

Officers saw nothing

"General Ford was responsible because he deliberately selected the march in Derry as an opportunity to impose a regimented security solution on a political problem. He was responsible in that he went to Derry as an observer and yet, if the evidence that he gave is to be seen as credible, he was the observer who observed nothing. In fact, as soon as it became clear that soldiers were firing, he absented himself from the field. The explanation is that he was going to get an overview, which he did not quite achieve. His failure, therefore, is simply a failure of bad luck, bad timing, bad location. His failure, in fact, was that the plan that he had devised was horrendously incompetent.

"Responsibility lies with 8th Brigade, because [they] ought, when 1 Para were imposed upon them, to have taken command and control... to have insisted upon a proper arrest plan being introduced; to have insisted upon scrutiny of the arrest plan; and to have insisted on communications which at all times kept them appraised of what was happening on the ground.

"Colonel Wilford is responsible because he, more than any other, had immediate control of the company which actually carried out most of the shooting. He also, it would appear, established himself in a position which gave him a substantial overview of what occurred. Yet he did not see or hear or have reported to him the shooting by Machine-Gun Platoon before he went in. He abandoned the position of command and control.

"Major Loden is directly responsible because, although he had the grandstand view on William Street, all that he surveyed, he saw nothing, controlled nothing, contributed nothing. The other officers on the ground almost universally saw and heard nothing in relation to the shootings that led to the death of the individuals. It is hardly surprising that individual soldiers and non-commissioned officers should take their lead from what they saw from above. That responsibility came down to them from government, from their own Ministry of Defence, through Headquarters Northern Ireland, through 8th Brigade, to the individual soldier who had to stand up and justify his shots. Of course, had he have done so, he would have been immediately exposed.

That fear of exposure, said Harvey, was the reason behind the lack of clarity. But, he added, it had been to no avail. "Ultimately, they have been held to account for their actions in this Tribunal, and the fact that their answers have been wanting is simply a reflection of the fact that the case is fundamentally wanting."

 

 

Bloody Sunday soldiers threaten court action
TOM News 11/10/04

The BBC has reported that the Bloody Sunday soldiers are on the verge of taking the Saville Inquiry to court.

The move could not only delay the Tribunal but affect what Lord Saville can say in his final report.

The Tribunal has ruled it does not have to use the criminal standard of proof if, for example, it is to find that a particular soldier probably shot someone without justification.

Lord Saville says the Tribunal is not a court, does not convict anyone and that it is his duty to investigate what happened and to report what he has found.

But the soldiers had argued that the tribunal must use the criminal standard because the consequences for the soldiers concerned would be very serious.

But having lost the argument with Lord Saville at this stage, the barristers for the soldiers are now very likely to take the Tribunal to court.

If that happens, the Tribunal could face further delays and if the soldiers win the argument in court, this will affect what Lord Saville can actually say in his final report.

Lord Saville of Newdigate and the Commonwealth judges accompanying him on the inquiry began their work in March 2000, and since then, more than 900 witnesses have given evidence to the tribunal.

Christopher Clarke QC for the Inquiry is due to make his closing statements on 22nd November at the Guildhall in Derry.

 

 

Bloody Sunday: the final reckoning begins
The Guardian 22/11/04

Britain's longest and most expensive legal inquiry reaches the summing up stage

Today in Derry a barrister will sum up the evidence in the biggest investigation in British legal history:

Lord Saville's inquiry into the killing by British paratroopers of 14 unarmed civil rights marchers on Bloody Sunday, January 30 1972.

The soldiers killed the men and boys, and wounded 13 others, in 20 minutes of gunfire. Some were running away, others were simply taunting the troops. The Ministry of Defence finally admitted during the inquiry that none of those shot or wounded was armed.

Christopher Clarke QC, counsel to the inquiry, will point to key issues and questions raised in 432 days of oral testimony from more than 900 witnesses and in thousands of written statements.

He started the hearings in the same building - Derry's Guildhall - more than four and a half years ago, on March 28 2000, with an opening speech that lasted 42 days, also the longest in British legal history.

Bloody Sunday provoked a spiral of violence in Northern Ireland. It also panicked Edward Heath, then prime minister, into setting up an inquiry, under the chief justice, Lord Widgery.

His report was regarded as a whitewash. But it was not until more than 30 years later that documents emerged from the national archives casting serious doubts about the way the Widgery tribunal was conducted and the evidence it heard.

Before that inquiry began, Sir Edward told Lord Widgery: "It has to be remembered that we are in Northern Ireland fighting not only a military war but a propaganda war."

The secretary to the Widgery inquiry said in a memo that the lord chief justice would "pile up the case against the deceased".

Statements by paratroopers to the military police, made available to Widgery but kept from the families of the victims and their lawyers, were also released. These revealed serious discrepancies between the accounts soldiers gave to the military police and the evidence they gave to Lord Widgery.

Some soldiers later admitted to the Saville inquiry they had lied to the military police.

The new evidence and statements made by a number of soldiers unhappy about the cover-ups were produced by the Irish government in a dossier sent to London in 1997. The following year Tony Blair agreed to set up a new inquiry - the first time two judicial tribunals have investigated the same incident.

The British government has never given its reasons for setting up the Saville inquiry though it is, in effect, part of the peace process and an attempt at truth and reconciliation.

In his opening speech, Mr Clarke said the tribunal's task was "to discover as far as humanly possible in the circumstances, the truth ... not the truth as people would like it to be, but the truth, pure and simple, painful or unacceptable to whoever that truth may be."

It has been a formidable task. The Ministry of Defence was less than helpful. It gave the Saville inquiry team a list of hundreds of soldiers who "may" have been present on Bloody Sunday. Some were, some were not.

Rifles, which Lord Saville had asked should be preserved, were destroyed.

When soldiers reluctantly came to give evidence in London - they refused to go to Derry - they insisted on anonymity. "I can't remember" was a persistent refrain. One soldier said he fired 19 shots through a single small hole in a window of a flat from a distance of 300 metres even though he admitted it was "incredible".

General Sir Robert Ford, commander of land forces in Northern Ireland, wrote a memo saying the minimum force necessary to restore law and order was to "shoot selected ringleaders" of what the army called the "Derry young hooligans". He insisted it was a private note expressing an opinion and the idea went no further.

Paramilitaries - the Official and Provisional IRA also initially refused to give evidence.

After the tribunal ruled that MI5 and army intelligence had to release records identifying members of the two organisations, many paramilitaries came forward.

The inquiry heard evidence from the Official IRA command staff in Derry at the time and from leading Provos, including Martin McGuinness.

Their cooperation with a British tribunal was unprecedented. As one former paramilitary told the inquiry: "I come from an era where we did not recognise the courts."

Lord Saville is likely to conclude that there was no conspiracy at a political level in Britain or Northern Ireland to provoke violence.

He is expected, however, to criticise senior army officers for confusion over the orders given to the paratroopers, and their tactics. Evidence to the inquiry suggested that the Paras, who had not been deployed to Derry's Bogside before, were hyped up, ill-disciplined, and trigger-happy.

The inquiry also heard that the paramilitaries had agreed before the march against internment, which was made illegal by emergency powers, not to carry weapons.

To fire at the soldiers would have been totally counterproductive, witnesses told the inquiry. However, two members of the Official IRA admitted firing some shots after the soldiers had opened fire at the marchers. They were quickly bundled away.

Though it is plain that paratroopers did not tell the truth to the inquiry, Lord Saville will have to establish whether there was any rational explanation for their actions and whether the shooting was premeditated.
Mr Clarke may offer some hints today. Lord Saville, meanwhile, hopes to publish his findings by the summer.

Some doubt he will be able to keep to this deadline.

He will also have to demonstrate his inquiry was worth it - in terms of its cost, estimated at £155m, its stated aim of establishing the truth, and closing what many, not only republicans, believe was one of the British army's most shameful episodes.

In session: Time and money

Announced in January 1998. Opened in March 2000 with a 42-day speech by counsel to the inquiry, the longest on record. Ended this month. Sat for 434 days. Lord Saville hopes to publish his findings in summer 2005

Expected to cost £155m. Fees for Eversheds, London-based solicitors' firm serving the inquiry, expected to total more than £12m. Earnings for Christopher Clarke QC, counsel to the inquiry, who gave up lucrative private practice, estimated at more than £3m

920 witnesses gave oral evidence. Another 1,000 gave written statements

Oral evidence heard from 245 soldiers, 34 paramilitaries, 505 civilians, 49 journalists, and seven priests

Evidence included 121 audiotapes, 109 videotapes and 13 volumes of photographs

14m words were spoken at the inquiry

The inquiry website has had more than 9m hits.

 

 

Bloody Sunday: Key questions still to be answered
Press Association 22/11/04

After more than 400 days of evidence and more than 900 witnesses, it is still unclear which soldiers shot 27 civilians on Bloody Sunday in Derry, the Saville Inquiry was told today.

Counsel to the inquiry Christopher Clarke QC, in his closing statement, said the central question before the tribunal was why and how were 13 civilians killed and 14 wounded at a civil rights march in the city on January 30, 1972.

This, he said, could be broken down into two questions: Who shot them? And was there any justification for doing so?

"It has to be said that, even after many days of evidence, the answer to even the first question - who shot them? - is not, on the soldiers' evidence, in any way clear."

Mr Clarke, whose final speech is expected to last two days at the Guildhall in Derry, said the tribunal could take one of two views on this.

"One view that the tribunal might take is that this is something that is not surprising if, as they say to be the case, soldiers came under fire from unexpected quarters and had swiftly to retaliate."

The second was that the soldiers, while claiming they hit gunmen and nail bombers, seemed unable to explain why they killed or wounded 27 people who were not involved.

"These considerations may have a cumulative effect. The tribunal may attach some significance to the fact that so much is unexplained," he said.

"It might conclude, taking that fact with all the other evidence, that so much is unexplained because no justifiable explanation could be given.

"On the other hand, it might take the view that uncomfortable facts have been airbrushed out of history and that the situation the soldiers faced was radically different to that of which the civilian evidence speaks," he added.

Mr Clarke has presented his final submission, consisting of ten volumes, to the inquiry team.

This summation is aimed at giving the three judges an overview of the issues they have to decide on, a summary of significant evidence and an indication of the range of conclusions the tribunal might reach.

The final report by Lord Saville and his fellow judges is expected to be published by the summer of next year - more than seven years after Tony Blair announced the inquiry.

 

 

Bloody Sunday QC speaks of Para's "contradictions"
TOM News 23/11/04

Contradictions in military evidence could lead the Bloody Sunday Tribunal to conclude there was no clear reason to enter one of the main killing grounds, it was claimed today.

Counsel to the Saville Inquiry Christopher Clarke QC made the assertion while discussing the activities of paratroopers in the Glenfada Park/Abbey Park area of Derry, where four civilians were killed and another five wounded.

Mr Clarke, speaking on the second day of his closing submission, pointed out the discrepancies in testimony of the members of the Anti-Tank Platoon.

One soldier said they moved from Kells Walk into Glenfada Park North to cut off a group of rioters, while another said he saw two men, one who appeared to be carrying a rifle, move into the area.

A third claimed he ordered the deployment in order to arrest a man who had fired a low velocity weapon from the car park at Glenfada Park.

Mr Clarke said the tribunal might decide that all of these activities were taking place at the time the paras decided to move in.

But he added: "Alternatively, the tribunal might conclude that the difficulties, or if they feel them so to be, the contradictions within the Anti-Tank Platoon`s evidence demonstrate that there was no clear reason to enter Glenfada Park North and that various members of the platoon had fashioned their evidence to provide a retrospective justification of their movements."

The senior barrister said the tribunal was faced with the acute difficulty of establishing the facts, given the wide discrepancy between civilian and military witnesses in Glenfada Park and Abbey Park.

The soldiers claimed they were met with gunmen and nail bombers, while Soldier H claimed he fired at a sniper in a window.

But evidence from civilian witnesses makes no mention of any paramilitary activity in the area where nine people were killed or wounded.

 

 

Bloody Sunday Inquiry ends
TOM News 23/11/04

The Bloody Sunday Inquiry has already played a part in holding to account those responsible for the shooting dead of 13 unarmed civilians, it was claimed tonight.

As the tribunal judges retired to write their final report, Counsel to the Inquiry Christopher Clarke QC paid tribute to the families of the victims.

"It is they who more than all others endured the pain of what happened on Bloody Sunday and its aftermath," he said.

The barrister said credit must go to the families for pushing for the inquiry, which was announced in the British Parliament by Tony Blair in January 1998.

The final report is expected to be given to Northern Secretary Paul Murphy next summer.

Throughout more than four years, the inquiry sat for 434 days and heard evidence from 921 witnesses.

In the two days of his closing submission, Mr Clarke said the tribunal could conclude from the lack of evidence from soldiers on who had shot the 27 people killed and wounded, that there was no justifiable reason for their actions.

In his final remarks, he said the tribunal report would help clarify what happened, despite the difficulty of identifying the roles of individual soldiers during a civil rights march on January 30, 1972.

"I hope and believe that the process itself has already played a part in enabling people to come to terms with the events of that day, in holding to account those whose decisions, actions or inaction contributed to what happened.

"And whatever the difficulty of determining the roles of individual soldiers, of advancing our understanding of what happened on that day which I have no doubt will become apparent in the tribunal's report."

Earlier, Mr Clarke said contradictions in military evidence could lead the tribunal to conclude there was no clear reason to enter the Glenfada Park/Abbey Park area where four civilians were killed and another five wounded.

One soldier said they moved from Kells Walk into Glenfada Park North in order to cut off a group or rioters, while another said he saw two men, one who appeared to be carrying a rifle, move into the area.

A third claimed he ordered the deployment in order to arrest a man who had fired a low velocity weapon from the car park at Glenfada Park.

Mr Clarke said the tribunal might decide that all of these activities were taking place at the time the paras decided to move in.

"Alternatively, the tribunal might conclude that the difficulties, or if they feel them so to be, the contradictions within the Anti-Tank Platoon's evidence demonstrate that there was no clear reason to enter Glenfada Park North and that various members of the platoon had fashioned their evidence to provide a retrospective justification of their movements."

A number of civilian witnesses have given evidence that they saw a soldier fire at Jim Wray at point blank range as he lay on the ground in Glenfada Park.

Mr Clarke left it up to the tribunal decide whether Mr Wray was shot twice while he stood or at least once after he had fallen.

"If the tribunal think Mr Wray was shot once or twice as he lay on the ground, it would follow no effort has been made by the soldier or soldiers responsible to justify that fire.

"The tribunal might have no difficulty in inferring that this was because there was no such justification."

He also told the tribunal judges that they must decide if one of the victims had nail bombs in his possession when he was shot dead in Abbey Park.

Gerard Donaghy was photographed at an Army post with four nail bombs in his pockets but a number of civilians, who tried to take him to hospital, told the tribunal he was unarmed.

Mr Clarke said it was difficult to believe that all of them failed to notice Mr Donaghy had the nail bombs on him.

But he also added that it was also difficult to believe that they were planted by the police or the Army, either at a barrier in Barrack Street or at the Regimental Aid Post.

On the shooting dead of two men and wounding of two others at Block Two of Rossville Flats, Mr Clarke said no member of Anti-Tank Platoon had seen any soldier apart from Soldier F firing across Rossville Street, or that they recalled seeing bodies in the area.

He said if the tribunal concludes that Soldier F was not the only paratrooper to fire in that area, it would follow there must have been an attempt to cover up what had happened.

He pointed out that on Day 376 of proceedings, Soldier F admitted to firing the shot which hit and killed Bernard McGuigan at Block Two.

The lance corporal claimed he had fired two shots at a gunman in the area.

Mr Clarke said if the tribunal concluded that Soldier F did fire the shot that killed Mr McGuigan it would have to consider whether it was done accidentally.

 

 

Bloody Sunday Families hold candlelit vigil
TOM News 23/11/04


Picture from AP/RN

The families and friends of those murdered and injured by the British army on Bloody Sunday held a candlelit vigil at the Bloody Sunday monument in Derry this evening.

The public sessions of the Bloody Sunday Tribunal ended today in Derry following six years of testimony, legal battles, destruction of evidence by the MOD in London and continuous sniping from sections of the British press.

The event was marked with a candlelight walk from the Guildhall to the Bloody Sunday memorial in Rossville St in Derry.

Relatives, friends and supporters gathered for a minute's silence following a short dignified ceremony in the Bogside.

Kay Duddy, interviewed during the vigil, said: "At the moment I feel very, very emotional. It's been an emotional roller-coaster all the way through".

Kay, who's brother Jackie was murdered at the Rossville Flats on Bloody Sunday, continued: "Today being the final day of the actual hearings, I felt even Lord Saville was emotional today; I felt Christopher Clarke was emotional.

"It's really in the lap of the Gods now."

Although the Inquiry has now ended, the families are going to have to wait until next summer, at the earliest, before Lord Saville publishes the final report.

 

 

Bloody Sunday families await final report
An Phoblacht/Republican News 23/11/04

"Why and how did 13 people come to be killed and 14 to be wounded within something like ten minutes on 30 January 1972 in this city?"

That was the simple question with which Christopher Clarke QC, counsel for the Inquiry, began his summing up in at the Bloody Sunday Tribunal as it sat once again this week in Derry to hear closing submissions.

The question of how and why, continued Clarke, could be broken down into two key issues: which British soldier shot each victim and whether there was any justification for them doing so?

He said that in framing the questions in this way, he was assuming that all 27 victims had indeed been shot by the British Army — although it has been suggested by others that three of the victims, Peggy Deery, Patsy McDaid and Alexander Nash, had not been shot by soldiers.

The problem was, he said, that the evidence provided by the soldiers was "not in any way clear". It seems probable that Damien Donaghy and John Johnston were both killed by soldier A or B, Michael Kelly by F, Gerard McKinney and Gerard Donaghy by G, Kevin McIlhinney by K (a sniper), — or M and James Wray by a member of the Anti-Tank Platoon whose members, E, F, G, H, Dave Longstaff, had entered Glenfada Park. Those responsible for the remainder were, on the soldiers' evidence, unknown.

Clarke said that, given this lack of clarity in their evidence, "the Tribunal may attach some significance to the fact that so much is unexplained, particularly in sectors 3, 4 and 5 into which the Anti-Tank Platoon fired. It might conclude, taking that fact with all the other evidence, that so much is unexplained because no justifiable explanation could be given." On the other hand, he said "it might take the view that uncomfortable facts have been airbrushed out of history and that the situation the soldiers faced was radically different to that of which the civilian evidence speaks".

As counsel to the inquiry, Clarke's summing up offers the best clue to what conclusions Lord Saville and his colleagues are likely to reach. After his suggestion on Monday that few of the soldiers could be proved beyond reasonable doubt to have shot particular individuals, there is concern that the Tribunal will be reluctant to single out individual soldiers for blame.

During his summing up, Clarke outlined the political context to the events of Bloody Sunday. He reminded the inquiry that on 7 October 1971, at the British Government GEN 47 meeting in London, "Mr Heath expressed the view that the first priority should be the defeat of the gunmen, using military means, and that in achieving this [they] should have to accept whatever political penalties were available".

From that point, he said, a "a number of themes run through the documents. One is that the defeat of the gunmen is the first priority.

"Another is that a purely military situation was unlikely to succeed. A third was that if there was progress in the security front on the defeat of the gunmen, there could, would or might be a window of opportunity for a political initiative at a time when the gunmen were demoralised and the Protestant community satisfied that security was being brought under control."

Throughout the inquiry there have been consistent suggestions that the British Government and Army saw the Civil Rights march on 31 January 1972 as a 'window of opportunity' to take on the IRA in order to mollify the unionist administration.

Clarke went on to say that the tribunal would have to consider whether the contents of General Ford's now notorious memo, written shortly before Bloody Sunday, amounted to a suggestion of a shoot-to-kill policy.

The memo proceeded, he explained, "on the basis that the contemplated policy involved shooting selected ringleaders, and recognised both the devastating effects of a 7.62mm bullet, and that to use it for that purpose risked killing more than the person aimed at, and that on that account less lethal ammunition should be issued when ringleaders were engaged, and also accepts the possibility that .22 rounds may be lethal".

Although there were qualifications to the proposals, "it seems difficult to escape the conclusion that what was contemplated was that shots should be fired at ringleaders which would, at the lowest, expose them to a high risk of death and probably kill at least some of them. This is underscored by the fact that soldiers are trained to shoot at the body mass; they are not taught to shoot to wound."

The inquiry is due to consider final written submissions from all the parties before finally retiring to consider its conclusions. The final report is due to published next summer, although there are suggestions that it may be delayed.

Bloody Sunday Tribunal statistics:

• The Tribunal was established in April 1998
• It started to hold public hearings on 27 March 2000
• It has sat for 434 days
• There have been 366 days of oral evidence
Witnesses:
• 921 people have given oral evidence
• 1,555 provided written evidence
• 42 witnesses gave evidence from behind screens
• 506 were civilians
• 33 were former members of the IRA or OIRA
• 7 were priests
• 49 were representatives of the media
• 245 were military witnesses
• 9 were experts and forensic scientists
• 39 were politicians, civil servants or intelligence officers
• 33 were RUC members

 

 

The Beginning Of The End
Derry Journal 26/11/04

On Sunday, January 30, 1972, one of the worst atrocities of the 'Troubles' happened on the streets of Derry, when thirteen unarmed, innocent civilians were murdered by members of the First Battalion of the British Parachute Regiment.

Over the intervening 32 years, the families of those killed, as well as those who were wounded, have had to endure not only their bereavements but also scandalous accusations that they were not all innocent.

The now discredited Widgery Inquiry even insinuated that some of the dead might have been carrying guns and bombs; it also came to the scandalous conclusion that the soldiers concerned were blameless.

It would have suited the British establishment to allow Widgery's charade to stand as the definitive verdict. But the dead men's families battled against obstruction of all kinds, and refused to allow this travesty of justice to be the last word.

At times it seemed that, despite ceaseless efforts, the search for the truth and nothing but the truth of what happened would never be reactivated. But persistence paid off, and in the end the British were forced to reopen the issue by establishing the Saville Inquiry.

Six and a half years on, and more than 900 witnesses later, Lord Saville and his two colleagues have at long last retired to write their final report.

One of the most striking features of the Inquiry proceedings was the extent of the conflict between the evidence of British Army witnesses, on the one side, and that of civilians and journalists on the other.

Broadly speaking, it would be fair to say that the vast majority of evidence from civilians and journalists pointed to the army opening fire on unarmed civilians in circumstances where the lives of soldiers were not seriously threatened.

Conversely, however, the evidence from Army sources was largely to the effect that a legitimate and necessary decision was taken to carry out an arrest operation against rioters, and that individual soldiers opened fire only where they had identified a gunman or bomber who was threatening their lives or the lives of their comrades.

Indeed, the fundamental task of the Saville tribunal is to determine objectively and authoritatively where the truth lies among these dramatically conflicting versions.

The truth of Bloody Sunday, however, is known to the people of Derry. It is something we have known for 32 years.

It was a massacre carried out in broad daylight in full view of hundreds of eyewitnesses, including scores of independent media witnesses.

Irish people, North and South, have known for years that unarmed civil rights demonstrators were murdered in cold blood by British paratroopers. Yet, at the highest level of the British political and judicial establishments a crude cover up was concocted. This cover-up, conspiracy of silence, call it what you will, continues to this day. One only had to listen to the "evidence" of successive military witnesses at the Saville hearings for confirmation of this.

Indeed, at times, one could only marvel at the testimony of some of the soldiers which, in a number of cases, reached the realms of absolute fantasy.

It is no exaggeration to say that the soldiers' evidence frequently appeared to be treating the people of this city and the events of Bloody Sunday as something of a joke.

Spurious and inconsistent evidence by soldiers only made the task of the Inquiry even longer and indeed more painful and insulting to the families of the dead, those injured, and everyone who went through the trauma of that day.

The people of Derry, knowing the hurt that Bloody Sunday caused, trust that Lord Saville and his team will robustly discredit such outrageous evidence.

The facts boiled down to the simplest level are that 13 unarmed civilians were shot dead by the so-called elite of the British military.

The families of the dead and wounded are not seeking recrimination, simply the truth about what happened on January 30, 1972.

Their concern is to establish the truth and to close this painful chapter once and for all.

Indeed, one can't help but be struck by the dignity of the families in their quest for the truth.

At times it may be hard and at times it may be harsh, but the truth always provides the basis upon that which is bad can be remedied and that which is good can be made better.

It is said that "truth is the first casualty of war". By the same token, as we emerge from conflict, establishment of truth, thereby ridding society of past-through-to-present injustices, should become a hallmark of a new society.

Thirty-two years on, the relatives of those innocent men gunned down on Bloody Sunday, backed by the people of Derry, remain steadfast in their demands: we simply want truth, justice, and most important of all, closure.

We can only hope that justice, at whatever level, will prevail.

 

 

Jailing of Derry Republican a Disgrace
TOM News 07/01/05

A Derry republican was sentenced to three months in jail today for contempt of the Bloody Sunday inquiry by refusing to attend and give evidence.

When the sentence was handed down in the High Court in Belfast, the 54-year-old republican, known as PIRA 9, stood up and shouted at the two judges: "I'm the only man to be punished for Bloody Sunday. It's a disgrace."

The north's Lord Chief Justice Sir Brian Kerr, sitting with Lord Justice Campbell, said the order for committal to prison would become effective no later than 12 noon on Monday.

The application to punish the man for contempt of the tribual was brought on behalf of the Bloody Sunday Inquiry chairman, Lord Saville. His lawyer Bernard McCloskey, QC, said PIRA 9's refusal to obey the inquiry's subpoena was blatant.

The Inquiry had received evidence from Paddy Ward that the man had been actively involved in the events of Bloody Sunday on January 31, 1972, when paratroopers shot 27 civil rights marchers, killing 14 of them.

Defence lawyer John Coyle referred to a letter written to the inquiry by solicitor Denis Mullan quoting PIRA 9 as saying that Mr Ward's evidence contained such a degree of inaccuracy that it did not merit the dignity of a response from him.

Said Mr Coyle: "His view is that the evidence was nonsense - a farrago of falsehoods."

The Lord Chief Justice said the court was concerned about having to send a person to jail with no previous convictions and adjourned the hearing to allow PIRA 9 to reconsider his position. When the hearing resumed, Mr Coyle said: "My client's attitude is unaltered. He has strong political principles and does not wish to avail of the opportunity offered to him."

Sinn Féin MLA, Raymond Mc Cartney described the sentencing as an absolute disgrace.

Mr Mc Cartney said: “The fact that the Derry Republican sentenced in Belfast today for refusing to appear before the Saville Inquiry is the only person to be imprisoned as a result of the events in Derry in 1972 is an absolute disgrace.

“This person took a conscious decision that the Saville Inquiry as set up by a British government would not serve the best interests of the families of the Bloody Sunday victims or the general population of Derry. As an individual he is entitled to his opinion.

"If the British judicial system had pursued those responsible for the murder and mayhem that occurred on the streets of Derry on 30th January 1972 with the same determination as that applied to prosecuting this person then we would not have had the need for the Saville Inquiry.

“As far as the people of Derry are concerned those that treated the Bloody Sunday Inquiry with contempt were the British government and its agencies in their continued refusal to furnish Saville with all relevant material in their possession.”

John Kelly, who's 17-year-old brother, Michael, was murdered by the British Army on Bloody Sunday said it was a "scandal".

Mr Kelly pointed out that many witnesses had refused to answer the Inquiry's questions - and one former member of the Parachute Regiment blatantly refused to enter the witness box at all.

He said although the families had always appealed to everyone with information to come forward, it was wrong to send a man to prison for failing to do so.

Mr Kelly stated: "The fact is that a Derry man is going to jail over Bloody Sunday, in spite of the way some British politicians and former soldiers treated the tribunal."

 

 

Time hasn't dimmed the demand for the truth
An Phoblacht/Republican News 03/02/05

As John Kelly, whose brother Michael was murdered on Bloody Sunday, stood before the 10,000 people who had gathered at Free Derry Corner to mark the 33rd anniversary of the killings, he began his address with three simple sentences that eloquently summed up the pain and injustice he and his family have had to suffer since 1972.

"My brother Michael was murdered by Soldier F," he said. "For the past 32 years I have been forced to live with the fact that his killer is considered heroic, an honoured servant of the Crown, and that his commanding officer was decorated ten months later by the British head of state, Queen Elizabeth the Second. Time hasn't changed any of these realities."

But there is, he said, another reality which has gone unacknowledged by the British state in its eagerness to laud members of the Parachute Regiment; the genuine heroism of those who took part in the march for civil rights on 30 January 1972.

"Those killed and injured were ordinary people who stood for justice and civil rights for all but whose demands could not be tolerated by London, by the Unionist government in Stormont, by the British Army and by the RUC." Unlike their killers, those who died were not decorated, he said. "Instead, their names and faces were flashed around the world as gunmen and bombers."

Speaking about the Saville Inquiry, he said that the process had been an extremely difficult one for the families. It had been "traumatising, and at times exhausting". And although there was some sense of achievement for the families, there was still "the bitterness and injustice usually associated with the British judicial system and the Irish people".

Especially difficult, he said, was the fact that "many of the families for the first time came face to face with the planners, the commanders and executioners of our loved ones and whilst this was a necessary part of the inquiry process, it was probably the most difficult. We again bore witness to the lies, the pretence and the arrogance which encapsulated the outcome of the first inquiry in 1972."

Call for Doherty release

He also spoke about the collective outrage amongst the Bloody Sunday families over the imprisonment of Martin 'Ducksie' Doherty, and called on the British Secretary of State, Paul Murphy, to order his immediate release. Doherty, a local republican, was convicted last month for refusing to appear before the Saville Inquiry to answer questions about Bloody Sunday, despite his statement that he was not present on the day.

The sentence imposed on Doherty, said John Kelly, was "perpetration of the injustice. It is shameful and a sheer disgrace which has stained the integrity of the Bloody Sunday Inquiry. Thousands of witnesses questioned, millions of pounds spent, prime ministers and the elite of the British establishment proven as liars, and the outcome so far? One Derry man imprisoned."

He said there were some fundamental questions that will need to be answered in Lord Saville's report: "Does the Inquiry accept that the 14 men and boys were actually murdered and that they, and all those wounded by gunfire on that day, are innocent of charges of being gunmen and bombers? Who murdered them, and who gave the order that they be murdered? What is the legal status of any finding of murder, manslaughter or the wholesale use of torture and degrading treatment on civilians taken prisoner on that day? Above all, will the current British Government acknowledge and accept responsibility for the actions of its army on Bloody Sunday?"

With John Kelly on the platform were Sinn Féin Chairman, Mitchel McLaughlin MLA, Dr Jamal Zahalka, a Palestinian member of the Israeli Knesset, Dominic Bradley MLA of the SDLP and the daughter of John Davey, the Magherafelt Sinn Féin Councillor murdered in 1989 by loyalists as he returned home from a council meeting.

Palestinian solidarity

Dr Zahalka, acknowledging that the famous Free Derry Corner mural had been painted in the colours of the Palestinian flag for the duration of the Bloody Sunday commemoration said: "We look forward to the day when we destroy the great wall of apartheid built in Palestine and build a new, small wall which has written on it 'You are Now Entering Free Palestine'."

He spoke about the Palestinian Bloody Sunday, in October 2000, when Israeli police killed 14 unarmed demonstrators and about the disturbing similarities with the events in Derry in 1972.

"In both cases, demonstrators were not treated as citizens but as enemies; in both cases no one from the security forces was punished for the murders," he said. "The questions we are asking and the questions you are asking are the same: why did it happen? Who carried out the shooting? Who gave the orders? Who directed them? From how far up the chain of command did the orders originate? Where did it fit into political policy? We know the truth, as you know the truth, but both of us want them to admit it."

Sinn Féin Chair Mitchel McLaughlin recalled that he had been present on Bloody Sunday when the Parachute Regiment had been unleashed on the citizens of Derry in order to teach them a lesson. That lesson, he said, was "to teach uppity Fenians that failure to obey British law would have dire consequences".

As well as the dead and injured, he said, truth was also a casualty of the events of 30 January 1972, "and the denial of truth is the denial of justice".

"The intention was to teach us a harsh lesson, and indeed we were taught a lesson that day. Actually we learned a number of lessons. As we began to count and identify our dead and wounded, the British Government was already telling the world that a gun battle had erupted in the republican stronghold of the Bogside and that a number of republican gunmen and bombers had been killed".

A compliant media, he continued, perpetuated and spread the lie. "No need for evidence as, after all, only the IRA could mount such an assault on the British Army and only the 'superior fieldcraft' of the British Army saved them from injury or worse. No need then for doubts, no need for questions.

Lessons learned

"Yes, we learned lessons that day, but not the ones which were intended. Because we emerged even stronger and even more determined. We learned that our oppressors owned the law and they owned substantial and influential sections of the communications and media industry.

"We learned that when the lawmakers are also the lawbreakers, then there is no law. We also learned that there will be an official version of every single event, which is reported in the media, and then there is the truth. That is why we are here today, not just demanding freedom for Ducksie Doherty, we are also demanding that the truth be set free, the truth about Bloody Sunday."

Referring to the theme of the commemorative weekend, Time for Truth: From Bogside to Basra, McLaughlin said that the truths leaned in Derry as a result of Bloody Sunday were equally applicable in Palestine and in Baghdad and Basra. Since 1972, he added, human rights had been further eroded by governments both in Ireland and in other places of conflict. "The current, most graphic illustrations of this are witnessed on a daily basis in Palestine and Iraq," he said. "We hear personal accounts about human rights abuses and torture in Belmarsh Prison and Guantanamo Bay".

But, he said, in the search for justice for those who were murdered on Bloody Sunday, "we must not be deterred by a political establishment that pays lip service to democracy whilst playing fast and loose with human rights, with civil liberties and the truth".

 

 

Saville verdict may take another year
Irish News 19/04/05

Publication of the Saville Inquiry's report into Bloody Sunday could be delayed until next year, the Irish News has learned.

At the close of public hearings last October, it was accepted that the final report would be released sometime this summer. But sources have now indicated that it could be delayed until 2006 because of the quantity of material to be reviewed by Lord Saville, Mr Justice John Toohey and Mr Justice William Hoyt.

A spokeswoman for the inquiry last night declined to comment on the date for the report.

“The report is in preparation. However, it is necessary for the tribunal to look at a very large quantity of material, so it is not possible at this stage to give any final estimation of when the report may be published,” she said.

If delayed until next year, the final report will be published a full eight years after Prime Minister Tony Blair announced the establishment of the tribunal in 1998. It heard its first witnesses in March 2000.

John Kelly, a brother of Bloody Sunday victim Michael Kelly, said he was not surprised that publication could be put back until next year.

“I had hoped it would be published by September of this year, but I am not surprised. We have waited 33 years for this so another few months won't matter,” he said.

Mr Kelly said the truth of what happened on Bloody Sunday had already been revealed through the evidence of the last five years.

He said the Bloody Sunday families now sought “confirmation of that truth” from the tribunal, and also the British government to admit the truth.

Derry lawyer Greg McCartney, who represents the family of victim Jim Wray, also said the expected delay came as no surprise given the huge quantity of material involved.

Meanwhile, Paul Greengrass – director of the film Bloody Sunday, one of two about the 1972 killings – has been celebrating receiving a Bafta.

He won the television award for his work on films about Bloody Sunday, the 1998 Omagh bombings and the Stephen Lawrence inquiry in Britain among others.

 

 

'Sunday' Rifles Discovery 'Deeply Disturbing' - Says Victim's Brother
Derry Journal 16/08/05

A relative of a teenager gunned down on Bloody Sunday has branded as "deeply disturbing" revelations that rifles fired by soldiers in Derry that fateful day have been found - despite claims they had been destroyed.

It emerged at the weekend that three British Army weapons used to shoot unarmed civilians in Derry's Bogside on January 30, 1972 have been recovered in Beirut, the United States and Sierra Leone.

It was earlier this year that it was revealed one of the weapons used by paratroopers in Derry was uncovered in Sierra Leone.

It has now been confirmed that two other weapons have turned up in a police station in Beirut and in a gun shop in Little Rock, Arkansas.

John Kelly, whose brother Michael (17) was among those gunned down on Bloody Sunday, said he found the revelations "deeply disturbing."

He said he suspected the "hand of the British Ministry of Defence (MoD) at work." "Nothing surprises me when it comes to the MoD," said Mr. Kelly. "They have, at every turn, tried to disrupt and mislead the quest for truth and justice surrounding Bloody Sunday.

"The story as regards the guns used on Bloody Sunday has changed on so many occasions that it's hard to be surprised any more.

"However, what is deeply disturbing is the distinct possibility that guns used to murder innocent people in Derry may well have subsequently been used for other murderous acts."

In September 1999, the Saville Inquiry was informed that 14 of the 29 rifles used on Bloody Sunday - which were submitted to the original Widgery Inquiry - had been destroyed when self-loading rifles (SLRs) became obsolete in 1997. The Inquiry was told ten rifles had been sold.

The inquiry immediately placed an order banning the movement of the remaining five rifles but three months later it emerged that a further two had been destroyed.

Details and serial numbers of 29 SLRs used by the solders were identified by the Inquiry as they had been originally submitted by the army for forensic testing to the 1972 Widgery Inquiry.

However, Lord Saville wanted to re-examine the guns in the hope that modern forensic methods might produce fresh clues as to which soldier shot which civilian.

In particular, the Inquiry wanted to establish if any of the SLRs had been adapted to fire lower-calibre .22 rounds. Major General Robert Ford, the British Army's second-in-command in the North in 1972, had recommended in a top secret report that marksmen be allowed to shoot dead troublemakers with rifles altered to fire less powerful bullets.

The tribunal wanted to test if this had been put into effect on Bloody Sunday when Kevin McElhinney, one of those killed, appeared to have been shot with a .22 bullet.

Many of the weapons used on Bloody were disposed of just days before the Inquiry started on January 29, 1998 with some melted down for scrap metal and others sold to international dealers.

 

 

Bloody Sunday rifles - new revelations:
Families want Tim Collins brought before Saville
Sinn Féin News 19/08/05

The long-smouldering row about the guns used by the Parachute Regiment to kill 14 people in Derry on Bloody Sunday has re-ignited once again with new claims in the Sunday Times about the fate of the weapons.

The latest revelations centre on the activities of employees at a British Army storage facility at Donnington, Shropshire; the disappearance of all but five of 29 Bloody Sunday guns originally held in Building 54 of the facility; and the claims by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) that the other 24 were destroyed.

The disappearance of the guns and the destruction of two of the five remaining rifles held at Donnington has been known about for some time, but the latest article also recounts the police inquiry, codenamed "Operation Apollo" which followed.

The investigation uncovered an audit trail revealing that some of the weapons, including some which the MoD told the Saville Inquiry had been destroyed, were actually sold off, travelling through Beirut, Belgium, Canada with at least one ending up in the possession of the rebel group, the West Side Boys, in Sierra Leone. Of a list of 60 possible rifles which Apollo detectives wanted to trace, 14 have now been recovered.

The article points the finger of responsibility at employees at Donnington. It relates how officers from the West Mercia Constabulary encountered "a degree of contempt and resistance" during their investigations and how they found one message which said that "on Tuesday, the Battle of Hastings inquiry will want to find the longbow which put Harold's eye out".

However, while the Apollo report commented that it was "almost beyond belief" that the five remaining guns at Donnington were not protected once they had been identified and Saville had requested they be handed over, and that "No member of staff has been able to provide a convincing explanation" for the subsequent destruction of two of them, officers decided that there had been no conspiracy to conceal evidence from Saville. "What occurred was a combination of mistakes, human errors and negligence," it says.

John Kelly, whose brother Michael was killed on Bloody Sunday, disagrees with this conclusion. Speaking to An Phoblacht he said that it is now "beyond any doubt whatsoever that there was a conspiracy by the MoD to cover up".

"I certainly do not accept that it is just the responsibility of one or two obstructive individuals at Donnington as the article seems to suggest. They were told to do a job - to hide or destroy the evidence - and they did it. Don't forget, the article mentions that one of them received a £100 bonus for the work he did in disposing of evidence.

"I believe this goes all the way up the chain of command at the MoD. I would be very surprised if Geoff Hoon [the then British Government Secretary of Defence] knew nothing about this, or did not have a hand in it somewhere".

Kelly also argues that it is no coincidence that the two rifles destroyed after having been requested by the Inquiry were those used by Soldiers F and G. "Soldier F murdered my brother Michael," he said, "and Soldier G killed Gerard Donaghy. Those rifles contained vital evidence in both of those cases and they were deliberately destroyed by the MoD. Now that evidence has been lost."

He is also deeply concerned about the possible loss of one or more weapons which may have been modified in accordance with recommendations made by the British Army commander Major General Robert Ford shortly before Bloody Sunday. In a secret memo, Ford had suggested that the army modify some of its SLRs to fire .22 rounds, rather than the standard 7.62 ammunition, as the latter often caused additional injury or death to others than the intended target. With .22 rounds, Ford said, "known troublemakers" and rioters could be killed without incurring collateral damage. It is known that 30 of these modified rifles were sent to the Six Counties.

Throughout the inquiry, the MoD and British Army denied that this recommendation had been put into practice, but there is strong forensic evidence that Kevin McElhinny was killed with such a round. There is, fortuitously for the MoD, no trace of the gun.

John Kelly said that it was clear that the MoD never had any intention of co-operating with the Inquiry. "They have stuck two fingers up at Saville, who I believe has tried to do a decent job in recovering the rifles."

The issue of a Bloody Sunday gun recovered by the Parachute Regiment in a gun battle with the West Side Boys in 2000 has also arisen before. Earlier this year former Irish Guards Colonel, Tim Collins, who was involved in the British Army operation in Sierra Leone, wrote in his book of the captured gun: "It was only when they were back to the UK that it was discovered from the serial numbers that one of the rifles was actually an old 1 Para rifle. It was used on Bloody Sunday in Londonderry in 1972 when 13 protestors had been shot — and it had been declared destroyed when the Saville Inquiry into the shootings had asked for it."

Kelly says the Bloody Sunday families want to see Collins brought before the Saville Inquiry. "There are a lot of questions to be asked of Collins," he says. "For example, we want to know why, if he had this information, did he not come forward with it and make a statement. If he knew all along that the Paras had one of the guns, he should have volunteered that information to the Inquiry. Also, where is that rifle now? Why hasn't it been handed over to the Inquiry? These questions have to be answered".

"Remember that a Derry man was jailed for not appearing before the Inquiry, even though he had no information. Collins must be made to give evidence."

And, says Kelly: "It begs the question about all of the guns used on Bloody Sunday. Was the MoD telling the truth about any of them? How many of them were actually sold off abroad to be used in other killings? Are some of them still hidden away?"

 

 

Speculation growing that Bloody Sunday report
is being delayed for political reasons

Daily Ireland 09/08/06

On January 29, 1998, the now embattled British prime minister Tony Blair made a statement in the House of Commons announcing the second probe into Bloody Sunday to be headed by Lord Saville of Newdigate into the massacre carried out by members of the elite Parachute Regiment in Derry’s Bogside 26 years earlier.

The circumstances of the killings are well known. Thirteen unarmed civilians – a fourteenth died later – were shot dead.

The first probe, headed by the late Lord Widgery, was widely regarded as a “whitewash”, largely exonerating members of 1 Para of wrongdoing on January 30, 1972.

In 2006, the families of the dead and those wounded on Bloody Sunday still await the publication of the findings of the Saville inquiry.

The inquiry was set up to assess “new evidence that was not available to Lord Widgery”.

Its terms of reference were to inquire into “the events of Sunday 30th January in 1972 which led to loss of life in connection with the procession in Londonderry on that day, taking into account any new information relevant to events on that day”.

The extensive inquiry interviewed and received statements from approximately 2,500 people.

Some 921 of these people were called to give evidence in Derry’s Guildhall.

It was the largest undertaking in British legal history.

The judges, headed by Lord Saville, retired two years ago.

There is unease among families and the nationalist population in Derry about the reasons for the delay.

“Where the state’s own authorities are concerned, we must be as sure as we can of the truth,” Tony Blair said in 1998.

Today he is preoccupied. The official line from the Bloody Sunday Inquiry since the winding up of hearings in Derry and Central Hall Westminster has been that the huge amount of evidence is responsible for the delay.

There is no doubt about the weight of the evidence, but the legions of solicitors and barristers and legal teams employed, including the three-man tribunal panel have still not delivered the final report.

On April 3, 1998, Lord Saville issued the opening statement of the Inquiry.

The object and duty of the inquiry was “to seek the truth about what happened on Bloody Sunday. We intend to carry out that duty with fairness, thoroughness and impartiality”.

The final report, when published, will first land on the desk of direct-rule secretary, Peter Hain.

With the North’s political process in logjam and British paratroopers and troops fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq, the question in people’s minds is: is this report deliberately being held back?

It would neither be politically expedient, nor morale boosting for British troops to be slammed – as the Saville inquiry will undoubtedly do – while British forces are involved in fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, the families of the Bloody Sunday dead, and those wounded, are condemned to a waiting game – something they have become accustomed to over decades.

The last press notice was issued by the inquiry almost a year ago.

It stated that those affected by Bloody Sunday – the families and the civilians of Derry who joined the Civil Rights march on that day – would be given substantial notice of the publication of the report.

Derry anti-war campaigner and veteran socialist campaigner Eamonn McCann, who was present on the Bloody Sunday civil rights march, said that the contents of the final report are likely to be embarrassing for the British government and army.

Throughout the Troubles, he said, the British government portrayed itself as a “referee” in a sectarian conflict.

“This was a very British atrocity,” said McCann.

“Bloody Sunday, much as they would like it to, does not fit into the pattern of other killings, such as the Enniskillen bomb, Teebane, etc.

“This report, when it is published will show the extent to which the British were major players in the conflict in the North and not referees.

“The problem on Bloody Sunday was the murderous attitude of the paras – and this is a complication, a potential embarrassment and scandal for the British government.”

Derry MLA Raymond McCartney urged inquiry chairman Lord Saville to address the families to end speculation that the findings of the probe into the killings may be stalled for political reasons.

He said: “In the absence of Lord Saville addressing the families, there will be growing speculation that this report is being delayed for political reasons.

“The families have had no correspondence and some explanation of the delay is needed.”

SDLP MLA Pat Ramsey said that deep psychological wounds in Derry caused by the killings cannot begin to be healed without the publication of the Saville report.

“There is much anticipation across this city about the Inquiry and its findings.

“People are anxious to hear the findings and for the families, it may give peace of mind,” he said.

“People would hope that there are no political reasons behind this delay.”

 

 

Lord Saville, why are we waiting?
Daily Ireland 09/08/06

Editorial

The families of the victims of the Bloody Sunday massacre, along with the rest of the country and people interested in justice around the world, are still waiting for the truth, 34 years after British soldiers shot dead 14 unarmed people in Derry and severely wounded many others.

The relatives are calling on the chairman of the latest inquiry into the killings, Lord Saville of Newdigate, to tell them why the investigation’s report is taking so long to publish.

There is still no timetable for the publication of the report, two years after the long-running inquiry involving hundreds of witnesses and a battery of lawyers and barristers concluded.

Even after it does make its appearance, its first stop will be the desk of direct-rule secretary Peter Hain. where it will presumably be pored over once again before the public is deemed mature enough to finally read it for themselves.

The fear among the families and other interested parties is that the current British government, aware of the damning findings of the Saville inquiry, which is thought to blame the paratroopers in Derry on the fateful day for gunning down innocent people, is seeking to minimise the effect on its public and its military, by delaying its release or seeking to water down its conclusions.

Interested parties fear this may be partly because of the situation Britain under an increasingly embattled Tony Blair finds itself in in Iraq and Afghanistan, but also because of the unpalatable truth that their vaunted soldiers ran amok on Bloody Sunday, and possibly proof of the even more devastating suspicion, that they were allowed and encouraged to, as part of a strategy emanating from the very top.

This would totally destroy the myth that Britain was only ever acting as an impartial referee in Ireland, a stance it likes to portray itself as having around the world, a position now largely in tatters a a result of the recent revelations on collusion with loyalist paramilitaries.

Given the initial Widgery Report’s findings into Bloody Sunday, slammed at the time as a British government whitewash and now generally accepted as such, it’s essential that people are reassured that there is no attempt at damage control being attempted in this instance.

The Bloody Sunday families have waited decades for a proper and public inquiry and now, two years since the end of the probe, are still waiting to see its report and at last, hopefully, learn the truth of what happened on that tragic day.

It’s time for Lord Saville to speak out and tell the families, and the rest of us, why it’s taking so long to reveal the findings of his inquiry, and reassure them that its conclusions are not being tampered with to perpetuate the official myths of Bloody Sunday.

 

 

Jackson Admits British Troops Killed Innocent People on Bloody Sunday
TOM News 29/05/07

The former head of the British army has admitted for the first time that troops shot dead innocent people on Bloody Sunday.

Former chief of the general staff General Sir Mike Jackson will tonight admit on a BBC Spotlight programme that troops killed innocent people when they opened fire on unarmed civilians taking part in a civil rights march in Derry's Bogside on January 30th 1972.

Jackson, who served in the six counties for seven years and was a captain with the British parachute regiment on the day, admits he now has no doubt that innocent people were shot.

For more than 30 years he had claimed that those killed on Bloody Sunday had been members of the IRA.

Questioned when he had come to the conclusion that his troops had killed innocent people, he said: "I'm not sure, I don't think I can really give you a sense (of) that. It's over time."

He said people must wait for the outcome of the Saville Inquiry into Bloody Sunday before drawing any conclusions.

The tribunal investigated the deaths of the14 civilians shot dead by the British soldiers.

It was established in 1998 by British Prime Minister Tony Blair after a lengthy campaign by families of those killed and injured.

Its findings will not be published until at least the end of 2008.

"I have no doubt that innocent people were shot," Jackson said.

"We have had two formal judicial inquiries, one of which is yet to report. There has been many journalistic examinations of what happened. (The) Saville Inquiry has been somewhat lengthy, but my goodness it has been thorough, and we will see what it has to say."

Liam Wray, whose brother Jim was one of the 14 civilians shot dead on Bloody Sunday, said he welcomed Jackson's admission.

"I think it's significant that the retired top soldier in the British army has come to the point in time where he is accepting that innocent people were shot on Bloody Sunday," he said.

"It is regrettable that he didn't give that evidence to the Widgery Inquiry in 1972."

Jackson also admits for the first time that the Falls Road Curfew had been a "mistake".

More than 3,000 British soldiers sealed-off the lower Falls in west Belfast in July 1971 in what they claimed was a search for IRA weapons.

However, the searches led to three days of gun battles and rioting which left 5 people dead and 60 people injured.

The curfew was a key incident in turning the nationalist community against the British army.

Recalling the event, Jackson said: "With retrospect it may have been too heavy-handed an approach at the time."

Asked whether he now regarded it as a mistake, he said: "Looking back now, yes.

"Again you can't be black and white about these things but I think you know the balance of advantage and disadvantage of taking that action with hindsight, and we can all be clever with that, I think the disadvantages of that outweigh the advantages."

In what is thought to be the first time he has admitted that the British army could not have defeated the IRA, he says: "You can't see it in simplistic military 'side A beats side B' because I think it's true to say that the military dimension – I put that in inverted commas – the military dimension of the campaign could have gone on indefinitely with neither side gaining what might be perceived as some sort of conventional military victory.

"I go back to my original premise – the source of the problem is political, therefore the solution is political."

Jackson was one of a number of former British soldiers interviewed to mark the end of the British army's 'Operation Banner' on July 31st.

The operation provided back-up for the RUC and PSNI for more than 30 years.

 

 

Bloody Sunday: 'We don't care about cost. We want justice'
The Independent on Sunday 13/01/08

Interview by Cole Moreton

Relatives of the dead have been told a report is imminent. But after 10 years and £174m, Lord Saville is still taking statements

On a shelf in a glass case, in a room in the Bogside area of Derry, there is a yellowing cotton Babygro covered in brown blotches. The stains were made by the blood of Michael Kelly, a 17-year-old boy who was shot dead in the street just outside.

"We carried him into a house," recalls his brother John, still angry and grieving 36 years later. "The woman there grabbed anything she could to try and stop the flow of blood."

She pressed the Baby-gro against a bleeding wound caused by a bullet from a gun fired by a member of the British Army. It was 30 January 1972, a day that would become notorious as Bloody Sunday. Michael Kelly and a dozen others died when soldiers from the Parachute Regiment opened fire on a civil rights march. "They were supposed to uphold law and order and protect us," says his brother, "but they turned their guns on us."

The Bloody Sunday inquiry into exactly what happened that day will soon have been going for 10 years. It is the second inquiry, the first having been a rush job that outraged many and satisfied none. Lord Saville of Newdigate has overseen the longest-running and most expensive investigation of its kind in British legal history, at a cost – so far – of more than £174m.

When Tony Blair, the new Prime Minister, announced the inquiry on 29 January 1998, he hoped it would give the relatives of those who died "closure". But what does that mean? What would satisfy them? And when is it coming?

Soon, according to Lord Saville, who recently told the families to expect a "voluminous" report only "a matter of months" into 2008. That may now be May or June, as this paper has learned that a fresh statement was taken from a witness just last month. It has led to fears that Lord Saville might not be about to give the relatives what they want: an official declaration that every one of the 14 people killed by the Paras was an innocent victim.

"They were not gunmen or bombers," insists John Kelly. Tony Blair and his predecessor, John Major, have already agreed that Lord Widgery – who led the first inquiry – was wrong to suggest that some of the victims may have been armed. They "should be regarded as innocent of any allegation that they were shot while handling firearms or explosives", Mr Blair said a decade ago. But that was far too ambiguous and not nearly official enough for Mr Kelly and the other relatives.

Crucially, they are waiting to hear what Lord Saville says about Gerard Donaghy. This 17-year-old member of Fianna Eireann, a Republican youth movement linked to the IRA, was the only casualty with such an affiliation. The inquiry saw police photographs of the body at a medical centre that showed nail bombs sticking out of his pockets – but it also heard from the soldier who took him to the centre and saw no bombs at all.

"The bombs were planted," insists Mr Kelly. At best, Lord Saville will say that is probably true. He and two fellow lords have heard from 900 witnesses and read thousands of statements, the most recent being directly about Donaghy, but they are still mostly dealing in probabilities. So at worst (for Mr Kelly), the report will say the boy was probably carrying bombs.

The close-knit band of relatives and campaigners will see that as a betrayal of the truth – and no doubt some will change their minds about it having been a huge waste of money. By the end of the legal proceedings in 2005 the fees stood at £92m. Individual lawyers made fortunes: Sir Christopher Clarke earned £4.5m acting for the inquiry; Edwin Glasgow QC, representing the military, got £4m. Another 30 barristers or QCs made more than half a million each.

Hotels, bars and restaurants in Derry (as the city council calls the place also known as Londonderry) did well out of the hearings before they moved to London, but Sir Hugh Orde, head of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, still called the inquiry "a huge money-sucking venture". Unionists opposed it from the start. Supporters of the Army called it "a shameful pillory". The Conservatives called the bill "scandalous".

They have an unlikely ally in Eamonn McCann, the writer and political activist who helped to organise the original march and now chairs the Bloody Sunday Trust. "The cost is outrageous," he agrees. "There was a feeding frenzy by lawyers. Some were getting £2,000 a day, some more than that. It is indefensible that a crime perpetrated against working-class people should have the consequence of making millionaires out of people who were already quite well off."

Yet Mr McCann insists Lord Saville was right to take his time: "It is perfectly possible to be outraged by the cost of the tribunal but still want the truth about what happened on Bloody Sunday to be pursued with all vigour. That's my position."

If so, why not hold similar inquiries into attacks such as the Omagh bombing, for example? Mr McCann, who lives in the Bogside, believes Bloody Sunday is different. "All the other atrocities can be put down to the clash between communities. This was the state murdering its citizens in broad daylight.

"It wasn't a bomb on a lonely road, or something planted in the night: it was in a built-up area on a bright winter's afternoon, where there were thousands of people." There were about 15,000 on the march. "Every single killing was witnessed by many people – some at close range. I saw people die – and so did someone from every family in this street. That's why the tribunal has taken so long: there are so many witnesses."

The respected former Northern Ireland Ombudsman Dr Maurice Hayes said in Derry last year: "I do not believe that the Saville inquiry will unearth the essential truth, the definitive account of the events on Bloody Sunday, which are so deeply incised on the psyche of this city. I can think of many better things to do for the families of victims and survivors for £200m."

But Mr Kelly, a quietly spoken man who often teaches schoolchildren about Bloody Sunday, just laughs at the suggestion that the city could have been transformed. "Derry wouldn't have got the money would it? It would have gone somewhere else. They've wasted far more in Iraq." What about giving each of the families a million or two in compensation – wouldn't that have been quicker and cheaper? "I would look upon it as blood money," he says, shaking his head. "This is not about money."

The costs have been "astronomical", he agrees, "but I don't care. I never did care how much it was going to cost. You cannot put a price on a human life, or on the search for justice." What would justice be? "I want to see the man who killed my brother go to prison."

Lord Saville cannot make that happen. He can only lay out in detail what happened that day – much as the Museum of Free Derry has done, to its own interpretation, on the Bogside where Mr Kelly works. It was opened last year by the former Guantánamo Bay internee Moazzem Begg, part-financed by a law firm that profited from the inquiry.

A real-time audio recording of the day sends shrieks and screams through the room. In one glass case lies a crumpled brown corduroy jacket marked with two yellow labels put on it during the inquiry to show where bullets entered the back of James Wray, 22. Close by is that Babygro. "My mother asked for all Michael's things to go in the coffin with her when she died," says Mr Kelly. "Some things got away. I have a Mars bar at home that is 36 years old. It was his. And there's this. That's his blood."

Michael had been in a coma as a child, and his mother was very protective. She had to be persuaded to let him march, protesting at the internment of prisoners without trial. "She followed the march to keep an eye on him," says Mr Kelly. "Then she lost sight of him."

Many marchers turned away when confronted by the Paras but some stayed to hurl stones and insults. The soldiers used CS gas, then began to advance towards Free Derry, the nationalist area just below the historic city walls that had declared itself a no-go area for the authorities. Shots were heard.

Did the Paras fire first or respond to an IRA gunman? Lord Saville is expected to provide an answer. Either way, 13 people were killed that day and another died later from his wounds. Seven were teenagers. "The sound of the bullets whizzing past is still in my head," says Mr Kelly, who ran through the streets to find his brother. Michael was declared dead on arrival at the hospital.

"I remember my father sliding down the wall when we told him. My mother went into total hysterics." She went to pieces. "For years she didn't even know who she was herself. We found her going to the cemetery on one snowy day with a blanket to keep him warm."

Many relatives say they will stop campaigning after Saville, whatever he says. But can anything in the report make John Kelly do that? "No. I want Soldier F prosecuted for the murder of my brother." The blurry image of the soldier, identity withheld at the inquiry, appears on a poster at the museum. "The bullet retrieved from Michael's body was traced back to his rifle. He's a multi-killer who took the lives of four people that day."

He hopes the report will lead to criminal charges. "I had black hair, now it's white. I want to move on with my life. Once F is prosecuted, then I can get closure."

And if not? If the report is all that the families hope for, but still does not lead to anyone being charged, what then? Mr Kelly smiles at the absurdity of what he is about to say, because he knows that in the 10 long and costly years of the Bloody Sunday inquiry there has only ever been – and only ever will be – one set of real winners. "We'll have to discuss that with our lawyers."

 

 

'I smelt the fear and tasted the ache that still hurts today'
Derry Journal 02/02/08

Eddie Kerr

After 36 years of denials add the shirking of responsibility and mix that up with vivid nightmares and flashbacks in grainy black and white footage then Bloody Sunday haunts us continually.

And still we wait for closure. Still the Inquiry team trawl through 432 days of oral testimony from more than 920 witnesses and thousands of written statements detailed in eyewitness testimonies. And still no closure as we wait some more.

Then after decades of official lies, secrets, suppressed information, evidence destroyed and persistent perjury and lies; closure seems as far away as ever. £170 million in costs and the name of being the longest inquiry in legal history and still we continue to wait.

There was oral evidence offered by 245 soldiers, 34 paramilitaries, 505 civilians, 49 journalists, and seven priests. Evidence included 121 audiotapes, 109 videotapes and 13 volumes of photographs. 14 million words were spoken at the inquiry. A mountain mass of words, images and pain And to top it off after ten years in the waiting since the Saville Inquiry commenced, we continue to wait some more.

Yet still the truth of Bloody Sunday awaits to see the light of the day. They say the truth is out there. I can tell you that the truth is here and has been here.

I don't need any British Judge to tell me what happened - I was there.

I saw what happened.

I smelt the fear and tasted the ache that still hurts today. And no amount of prevarication will alter the reality of that day.

To add insult to mass injury, only one person has spent time in prison for the events on that never-to-be-forgotten day. That one person was an innocent Derryman, while top politicians, high ranking soldiers, a judiciary blinded by class nepotism and copious amounts of faceless civil servants have ridden the storm to 'get away with it' maybe for another while.

The people of Derry deserve the truth and maybe then we can put this behind us and start the healing process.

Will it be worth waiting for? Don't hold your breath.

'A debt of justice and truth is still owed to the victims, to the bereaved and to the people of Derry. The British military, the British judiciary, the British Government and the Stormont regime – all must accept responsibility for Bloody Sunday and its consequences. Only then can the wounds of that day finally be healed' it says on the monument to Bloody Sunday found on Rossville Street.

Only then can the wounds of that day finally be healed. This week we will whisper again 'sheer unadulterated murder' as we recreate the route of that scar on our collective consciousness.

They burned a scar on the soul of this city. A scar that spawned our collective fear, anger and hate and stole the youthfulness of this city.

A scar that has not healed and has still not faded with time.

Only the truth can heal this scar and take away the pain of that eventful day. Only then will the scar begin to fade….. only then can we get on with life…

 

 

'We are stuck in limbo' - Bloody Sunday widow
Derry Journal 02/02/08

A woman widowed on Bloody Sunday last night vowed to "campaign for truth until the death".

In an interview with the 'Journal,' Eileen Doherty-Green described waiting on the findings of the Saville Inquiry as being "stuck in limbo" 36 years after the British Army murdered 14 people in the Bogside.

Mrs Doherty-Green, whose husband, Patrick was among those shot dead by the Paras, claimed the delay in publishing the findings was a "stalling tactic."

The mother of six, who has since re-married, said: "The whole of Derry knows what happened that day. Paras giving evidence to the tribunal made it sound like they were rounded on by marchers who hemmed them in but their statements were totally inaccurate and incoherent."

Mrs. Doherty-Green who was also on the ill-fated march, said: "I was 29 when they murdered my husband. I am 66 this year and I want the matter resolved."

Photographs and forensic tests for gunshot residue proved 31-year-old Patrick Doherty was unarmed when he was shot dead outside the Rossville Flats.

His widow said: "It is tragic to think that mothers have gone to their graves having never had their murdered sons' names cleared. There are now grandchildren whose grandfathers were murdered and names never cleared.

"The campaign started in 1985 when my son Tony asked me if I would like to be in contact with the other famliies. I want my son to know how thankful I am for that."

"To Tony his daddy was his hero and he wouldn't rest until his name was cleared.

"It has been a long hard road but the campaigning was worth it. There is nothing I wouldn't go through to ensure the truth is told about that day."

Asked did she believe that prosecutions would follow, Mrs Doherty-Green stated: "Not one Paratrooper will spend a day in jail. I will be content so long as the names of all the dead are cleared. It's madness to think otherwise. Will we get the truth? I hope so, we deserve it as do the children and grandchildren of the deceased."

Asked what it meant to her that thousands of people still attend the annual Bloody Sunday march, Mrs. Doherty-Green said: "It shows the passion of the people for justice. They march on the coldest day of the year, every year. First we marched for an Inquiry, now people march for the findings to be made public. We got the Inquiry and we couldn't have done any more. What we have already achieved is remarkable. We had a Lord Chief Justice tribunal rubbished, people should realise how big that was. It was history in the making."

It has been suggested that this could be the last year of the Bloody Sunday March should the findings be released.

Mrs Doherty-Green added: "I wouldn't like people to think we are dragging them out but if others believe different it is their own decision. I am just very glad of all the support down the years."

 

 

Scrap Sunday inquiry now, says Tory MP
Derry Journal 02/02/08

The British shadow defence secretary last night defended comments he made in a national newspaper where he called for the Saville Inquiry to be scrapped before it delivers its verdict in a bid to reduce costs.

Conservative MP Gerard Howarth was quoted in a British tabloid saying the Saville Inquiry into the events of Bloody Sunday in 1972, “should be scrapped and any money still to be spent devoted instead to something worthwhile, like police pay.”

Speaking to the ‘Journal,’ Mr. Howarth, MP for Aldershot, said he believes the money spent on the inquiry led by Lord Saville - believed to be more than £170 million - “could be spent better almost anywhere else.”

Mr. Howarth claimed the inquiry was set up as a “sop” to republicans and questioned what it would achieve. “My opinion has always been that Tony Blair set up this inquiry as a sop to republican opinion. There can be no winners. If Saville finds in favour of the families will the issue end there? I don't think so. I think there will be people who want trials or compensation and who will want to take this further. If Saville finds in favour of the soldiers then the families will say it was a whitewash. It is so long ago and it seems to me that Northern Ireland is at long last emerging from a very dark trough and I don’t know what will be achieve by spending this amount of money,” he said.

Mr. Howarth acknowledged Bloody Sunday was a “dreadful tragedy” but added that many families in England had suffered as a result of the Troubles. “Of course for all these families that has been a dreadful tragedy, just as it was for all of the United Kingdom. Every situation where civilian life is lost through the intervention of the armed forces is a tragedy. Thousands of families have suffered and are suffering still as a result of what has euphemisticaly been known as the Troubles,” he said.

Mr. Howarth represents the garrison town of Aldershot and some of his constituents include former paratroopers who were in Derry on Bloody Sunday. The headquarters of the parachute regiment in Aldershot were targeted by an Official IRA bomb several weeks after Bloody Sunday. The attack killed four female cleaners and a British Army chaplain.

Mr. Howarth said the suffering of families in his constituency is the same as that of the Bloody Sunday families. “There are a lot of families who have suffered, including the families in Londonderry who suffered. But they are not the only ones. I feel that no amount of money is going to change that suffering.“ There are families of soldiers in my constituency, who did their duty to the best of their ability, who lost their lives. The people of my constituency know all about that. We lost six people, including civilian cleaners and a chaplain, in Aldershot in an IRA bombing in response to Bloody Sunday.

“I don’t want to appear unsympathetic to the families who lost loved ones on Bloody Sunday because I am not; I just think the money could be better spent,” he said.

 

 

Publication of Saville report urged
The Irish Times 04/02/08

The families of the 13 civilians shot dead by British army paratroopers in the Bogside area of Derry 36 years ago, yesterday called for the Saville Inquiry report into the killings to be made available to them on the same day it is submitted to the British government.

A crowd in excess of 5,000 yesterday attended the annual Bloody Sunday commemoration march in Derry, among them Northern Ireland's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, SDLP leader Mark Durkan and Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams.

The final report into the killings and wounding of 14 others is expected to be completed by the inquiry's chairman Lord Saville later this year.

In a recent letter to the families of the Bloody Sunday victims, Lord Saville said when the report was ready, it was his duty to submit it first to the Northern Ireland Secretary of State who will then be responsible for making the report public.

Lord Saville, who chaired the six-year long inquiry, said he also intended to give "a substantial period of advance notice to the interested parties of the delivery of the report to the secretary of state".

However, speaking at a rally following yesterday's march, Joe McKinney, whose brother Willie was one of the victims, said the families of the dead and wounded expected to receive the report within the next few months.

"When the Bloody Sunday inquiry completes its report, it will be presented to Shaun Woodward, the British Secretary of State for the North. This may become one more part of our long struggle.

"Shaun Woodward is a representative of the British government and we ask why the British government or anyone else should get to see this report before we do?

"If the British government has this report, we do not believe that the ministry of defence, who represent the soldiers and officers involved in murder here on Bloody Sunday, will not have it also.

"Why should they get to see this report before us and get time to prepare their spin and lies for their tame journalists, while we may only have a few hours to see the report before we have to respond?

"We demand that all interested parties get to see this report at the same time, that there should be no advantage for any interested party just because they are the British government," he said.

 

 

Cost of inquiries 'horrify' tories
Belfast Telegraph 15/02/08

Tory politicians are "horrified" at the spiralling costs of inquiries into the past, the Shadow Secretary of State has revealed.

Owen Paterson said there were growing concerns among the Conservative rank and file about the amount of cash being ploughed into the investigations, particularly for the Bloody Sunday Inquiry, where the bill has now reached £181m.

He was speaking after a visit to Ulster to meet Lord Eames and Denis Bradley, who head the Consultative Group on the Past.

Mr Paterson said: "There is more than a feeling of unease in the Tory party. People are horrified at the costs of the inquiries and wonder what other good could have been done with this money.

"For example the Police Federation are having problems getting money for people who need psychiatric help to deal with the past.

"There is a feeling that well-heeled London lawyers are the ones benefiting the most. There is a case for a low key approach to getting to the truth. I do fear the present is being swamped by the past.

"There are huge present needs that the police face but they have to spend 40% of their time on the past."

His comments come on the back of reports that Shadow Defence Secretary Gerald Howarth claimed the Saville Inquiry "should be scrapped and any money still to be spent devoted instead to something worthwhile, like police pay".

TOM COMMENT

Let's be quite clear about this: The British establishment are solely responsible for the cost of the Saville Inquiry.

If the British military had not 'closed ranks' and Widgery had conducted an open and honest inquiry, there would never have been the need for the Saville Inquiry.

How much money was spent on legal challenges to the Saville Inquiry by the British military?

Attempting to obtain the truth when faced with resistance from those who planned and carried out the massacre that was Bloody Sunday has apparently cost £181m.

Truth costs nothing.

If you disagree with the comments of these Tory MPs please let them know.

Write/e-mail/fax the Conservative Shadow Secretary of State Owen Paterson at his North Shropshire constituency office.

His contact details can be found here: http://findyourmp.parliament.uk/commons/member/search/l/Owen%20Paterson.html

Write/e-mail/fax the Conservative Shadow Defence Secretary Gerald Howarth at his Aldershot constituency office.

His contact details can be found here: http://findyourmp.parliament.uk/commons/member/search/l/Gerald%20Howarth.html

Also, write/e-mail/fax your local MP at: http://findyourmp.parliament.uk/commons/l/ or http://www.writetothem.com/

 

 

TOM Action Call - No Further Delay of Saville Report!
TOM News 06/11/08

The Troops Out Movement were earlier today contacted by a representative of the Bloody Sunday relatives.

John Kelly, whose brother Michael was one of the thirteen civilians murdered by British Paratroopers on 30th January 1972 (the fourteenth victim died some time later) informed us that they had been notified by Lord Saville that his report into the murder of their loved-ones has, once again, been delayed.

John, who was clearly upset and angered by the news, said: "I am angry and totally devastated to have to wait at least another year for this report to be published.

"Saville recently informed us that the report had gone to professional editors, indicating that completion was in sight.

"It adds insult to injury that we have been given no real reason for the delay.

"The families have been very patient, but our patience is wearing thin.

"We have a right to be treated with respect and dignity.

"The Saville Inquiry opened on 3rd April 1998 and officially closed in November 2004.

"Four years on we have no report.

"Why is there such reluctance to release the report to public scrutiny?"

Mary Pearson, Secretary of the Troops Out Movement, which, since it was formed in 1974, has campaigned to expose the truth of what really happened on Bloody Sunday, said:

"This is yet another example of the British establishment treating Irish people with contempt.

"The relatives of the Bloody Sunday victims have a right to the immediate publication of this report.

"We are asking people to demand that the report be published immediately and that the relatives receive it simultaneously along with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland."

 

 

Battle ahead over release of the Saville Report
Derry Journal 19/08/09

By Eamon McCann

The arrangements being made for release of the Saville Report could result in its contents being distorted before they reach the public.

It is expected that the Report, running to more than 4,000 pages, will be presented to the Northern Ireland Office before the end of the year. We have had target dates before, of course, and all have been missed. But this time it seems we are on target.

Having taken possession of the Report from Saville, the NIO will decide at what point the public, including the families of the slain and the surviving wounded, will be given access to the document.

Secretary of State Shaun Woodward intends to hold onto the Report for an unspecified period before releasing it. He will also dictate the conditions under which the families will then be allowed sight of it.

The result is likely to be that the families and their supporters will be put at a huge disadvantage when responding to the Report and commenting on its findings. The political representatives of those who perpetrated the massacre will be much better placed to stamp their version of the Report on the public mind.

Woodward says the reason for delaying publication is so that officials can determine whether lives would be endangered by the document as delivered by Saville being made public. Specifically, he says, they will have to check Saville's draft for breaches of Article Two of the European Convention on Human Rights - the article guaranteeing the right to life. The NIO will order the redaction of any passage which they find to be in breach of the Article.

The plan is, then, that the Bloody Sunday Report may well be published with words, lines, paragraphs or passages blacked out on the orders of the British Government.

Woodward's justification of this arrangement doesn't stand scrutiny. Throughout its hearings, the Saville Tribunal had no option but to be mindful of the requirements of Article Two. At various times, representatives of particular parties, as was their right, interrupted evidence to make submissions based on Article Two, and, more than once, unhappy with Tribunal rulings, took their concerns to the High Court. The reason the Tribunal moved to London for a year was that the soldiers and some others had successfully argued that their Article Two rights could not be vindicated if they were made to give evidence in Derry.

Saville and his colleagues will have had the provisions of Article Two prominently in mind as they compiled their Report. The notion of NIO officials having to stand by to go through their findings in case Saville has misunderstood the law is laughable.

The most likely effect of Woodward delaying the Report while his officials go through it is that the soldiers' side will be very well prepared for the propaganda battle which is certain to erupt the instant the Report is put into the public domain. British officials will have had ample opportunity to tease out any sentence which can be quoted in isolation to suggest that the soldiers' behaviour had been generally reasonable, and to identify phrases which can be construed to mean that the shooting by the paras had been prompted by shots from Republicans.

Woodward insists that this won't happen. He tells that the Report will be studied and analysed within the NIO solely to determine whether Article Two has been complied with. No-one involved in this operation will discuss the contents of the Report with other officials of the NIO or other Government Departments.

People who choose to believe this are free to do so. But they will be shutting their eyes to the cynicism and mendacity which have been the hallmarks of New Labour's handling of sensitive material, particularly material which relates to the morality and legality of military matters, since coming into office 12 years ago.

In light of experience, not to mention common sense, can any of us be confident that one or other or all of MI5, MI6, Military Intelligence, Downing Street and the upper echelons of the Ministry of Defence will not have the Report in their hands or on-screen after it has come into the hands of the NIO but before the Bloody Sunday Families have had a chance to look over it?

Can we safely rule out the possibility, to put it no higher, that a version of the Report or of some of it will have been leaked from the NIO to journalists sympathetic to the soldiers before the families have set eyes on it?

State murder

The British Government is not a disinterested party in the matter of Bloody Sunday. One of the key distinctions between Bloody Sunday and seemingly comparable events - McGurk's Bar, Loughinisland, Enniskillen, Whitecross, the Shankill, Greysteel, etc. - is that this wasn't an atrocity perpetrated on one community by a gang claiming to represent the other community: it was the State itself which did the murders in Derry.

Bloody Sunday doesn't fit into the pattern of history which is preferred by British Governments, attributing the violence which has pock-marked our last 40 years solely to hostility between "the two communities", with the British ruling class standing above and between the contending factions.

When the State murders its citizens it is in the interests of every section of society to know how and why this happened and to be able to be confident that the action has been unequivocally repudiated by the State. The only way to achieve this is through the State acknowledging the full truth and bringing those responsible to book. This is not a matter which should be the concern only of the section of society from which the victims were drawn.

None of this is to suggest that Bloody Sunday can provide justification for any of the atrocities committed by paramilitaries on any side over the intervening years. It does mean that if society demands that paramilitary organisations admit their crimes, no less should be demanded from the State.

To express regret for what happened and apologise to the victims doesn't come close to meeting the case. We are entitled to demand that the British Government accept that Bloody Sunday was a crime and that those responsible - those who organised and sanctioned the operation as well as those who pulled the triggers - were criminals.

We must wait and see whether Saville endorses this characterisation of the killings. In the meantime, what we can learn from the way Woodward wants Saville's Report handled is that the British Government is as far away as ever from facing up to the facts of the Bloody Sunday massacre.

 

 

Saville report due in December
The Irish Times 22/09/09

The Saville Inquiry report into the Bloody Sunday killings in Northern Ireland is expected in December.

More than four years after hearings closed, authoritative sources close to the investigation confirmed the report should be presented to the Government by Christmas.

The inquiry was established in 1998 by then prime minister Tony Blair to re-examine the events of January 30 1972, when British soldiers shot dead 14 people attending a civil rights march in Derry.

Costing nearly £200 million, it was the most expensive inquiry in British legal history and lasted for five years, with the first witness heard in November 2000 and the last in January 2005.

The tribunal was chaired by Lord Saville of Newdigate, alongside two other judges from Australia and Canada.

There were 2,500 witness statements, of whom 922 were called to give direct evidence.

There were also 160 volumes of evidence, containing an estimated 20-30 million words, plus 121 audio tapes and 110 videotapes.

Eamonn McCann, Bloody Sunday Trust chairman, welcomed the news.

“It has been a long, long wait. If, as it would appear, we are getting fairly definite dates after half a dozen false alarms then I know the families will be pleased,” he said.

He said most of the mothers and fathers of the victims had died before seeing publication of the report.

“There will be a lot of relief but some apprehension as to what the report might contain but this is welcome news,” he added.

 

 

Bloody Sunday findings hit by new delay
Breaking News.ie 23/09/09

A new delay has been announced in the publication of the findings into the £200m (€222m) Bloody Sunday Inquiry.

Lord Saville’s findings will not now be ready until next March, more than six years after the marathon probe ended into the January 1972 shootings in Derry.

Downing Street had been expected to take delivery of the report later this year - Christmas at the latest.

But Northern Ireland Secretary Shaun Woodward has now been told it will not be ready until March 22 next year.

Relatives of the victims expressed disbelief at the new hold up and a clearly exasperated Mr Woodward said he was concerned by the delay.

He added: “I am concerned at the impact on the families of those who lost loved ones and those who were injured. I am equally concerned at the increased anxiety that soldiers serving on the day will suffer.”

Thirteen men were shot dead when British Paratroopers opened fire on civil rights marchers in the city's Bogside. A 14th man, who was among the wounded, died later in hospital.

The Saville Inquiry, which sat mostly in Derry’s Guildhall, but also in London, effectively ended in 2004, though three witnesses were heard later.

The first witness gave evidence in November 2000.

The inquiry was set up by the then British Prime Minister Tony Blair in January 1998 as a major concession to nationalists and republicans as part of the developing peace process.

But the length of time it took to complete, and especially the costs involved – they currently stand at £188m (€208.6m) – has been subject of fierce criticism among Unionist and Conservative MPs.

Tonight’s confirmation of yet another delay in publication of the report infuriated relatives of the victims.

 

 

Families' dismay at Saville delay
BBC News 24/09/09

Families of those killed on Bloody Sunday have criticised another delay to the Saville Inquiry report.

Tribunal chairman Lord Saville said he was "extremely disappointed" that the report would not be given to the government until March next year.

John Kelly, whose brother Michael was killed, said he was "devastated" and "still in shock" at the delay.

Thirteen people died when paratroopers opened fire during a civil rights march in Londonderry in January 1972.

Another person died later of their injuries.

"When I got the information yesterday telling it would be March, it knocked me for six," Mr Kelly said.

"I couldn't believe what I was reading and I can't understand the reasons behind it."

Liam Wray, who also lost his brother on Bloody Sunday, said he hoped the families would finally be vindicated.

"I feel like a child waiting for Christmas.

"We were waiting for Christmas to have a resolution, maybe, to something that happened nearly 40 years ago.

"At least we've got a date now, and I've got something to focus on," he said.

Anxiety

Eamonn McCann of the Bloody Sunday Trust said it would be bad timing to publish the inquiry's findings in March.

"It is possible that the report will be published in the middle of an election campaign," he said.

Solicitor Des Doherty, who represents the family of one of the victims, said he was "seriously concerned" the government will be given the report before the families.

"The government, and potentially sections of the Ministry of Defence and the treasury solicitors and their clients may know what's in this report well in advance of the families, and of course the lawyers for the families.

"We will be no doubt be pushed before the world's media on the day this is published and yet again the government will be well in advance in respect of their knowledge of the report," he said.

NI Secretary Shaun Woodward said he was "profoundly shocked" by the delay.

"I am concerned at the impact on the families of those who lost loved ones and those who were injured," he said.

"I am equally concerned at the increased anxiety that soldiers serving on the day will suffer."

Publishers

It is understood the government will take some time to consider Lord Saville's findings before publishing them.

In a letter to legal teams, Lord Saville said the report, which will run into thousands of pages, must be with publishers for some months before it can be finalised.

The Bloody Sunday Inquiry is the longest and most expensive inquiry in British legal history.

The first witness was heard in November 2000 and the last in January 2005.

The tribunal received 2,500 statements from witnesses, with 922 of these called to give direct evidence.

There were also 160 volumes of evidence, containing an estimated 20-30 million words, plus 121 audio tapes and 110 video tapes.

 

 

Bloody Sunday: the wait continues
Nuzhound 25/09/09 (from Guardian.co.uk)

By Eamonn McCann

Another delay in Lord Saville's inquiry on the Bloody Sunday shootings has only heightened anxiety about the report's release

The latest delay in publication of the Saville report has dismayed the Bloody Sunday families and their supporters.

A few months ago, in the last of a series of estimations of a publication date, Lord Saville told the families that he expected to deliver his report by the end of this year. In a letter to the families this week, however, he says that – "in the absence of unforeseen circumstances" – he will hand the report to Northern Ireland secretary Shaun Woodward in the week beginning 22 March next year.

The families appreciate that the tribunal has had to sift through a mountain of material. Lord Saville and his colleagues – William L Hoyt, formerly chief justice of New Brunswick, and John L Toohey, former justice of the high court of Australia – considered more than 1,500 witness statements and heard oral evidence from almost 1,000 witnesses over 404 days of hearings in Derry and London. The report is expected to run to about 4,500 pages.

However, the inquiry finished hearing the main body of evidence in February 2004. Counsel to the inquiry, Christopher Clarke, delivered his two-day summing-up in November 2004. There is some puzzlement in Derry that production of the report has taken so long. Speculation as to the reasons are widespread – and, in some instances, probably fanciful: disagreement between the three judges, government interference and pressure, a desire on somebody's part to produce the report in the run-up to or in the midst of an election campaign.

That said, this is the first time a more or less precise target date has been set down, encouraging hope that we are not about to face yet another false dawn.

There is, perhaps, greater concern in Derry about arrangements for release of the report. Woodward has told the families that he will hold onto the documents for two or three weeks before the report is presented to parliament and then passed to the families and the wider public. The given reason is so that government officials can determine whether lives would be endangered by the document as delivered by Saville being made public. Specifically, Woodward has said, officials will have to check Saville's draft for breaches of article 2 of the European convention on human rights – the article guaranteeing the right to life. The Northern Ireland Office (NIO) will order the redaction of any passage that offends in this regard.

It is intended that examination of the report will be carried out by the Treasury solicitors – the body which instructed barristers for the soldiers at the hearings – who will then inform the NIO of what redactions it considers appropriate.

Woodward has given assurances that no one involved in this operation will reveal or discuss the contents of the report with other officials of the NIO or other government departments. Many in Derry are, from experience, deeply cynical, and do not rule out the possibility of MI5, MI6 or other security and intelligence agencies being given access to the document or knowledge of its contents well in advance of the families setting eyes on it. This would give representatives or supporters of the soldiers an enormous advantage in their crucial, initial response to the findings.

April next year, the likely month of publication if the March deadline is met, will mark the 12th anniversary of Lord Saville coming to Derry and introducing himself to the families in the Guildhall. It may be that the families' epic search for the truth about the Derry massacre will then come to an end.

But it may be, too, that they will have further battles to fight before they can rest content that everything possible has been done to vindicate their loved ones, shot down by members of the Parachute Regiment around Rossville Street in January 1972.

What can you do?

  • Write to Shaun Woodward, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, and also your own MP at the House of Commons, London. SW1A 0AA. Shaun Woodward's e-mail is: woodwardsh@parliament.uk. You can find your MP's contact details at: www.writetothem.com
  • Bombard MPs with letters, telephone calls, faxes and e-mail messages. Find their details at www.parliament.uk
  • Organise delegations to MPs' surgeries
  • Call radio talk shows and write letters to newspapers
  • Propose a motion at your trade union/political party/community group meetings

Let us ensure people in England, Scotland and Wales are aware of what is being done in their name!

 

 

Why did Woodward meet with Bloody Sunday soldiers?
TOM News 02/11/09

The family of Bernard McGuigan, one of those shot dead on Bloody Sunday, last week refused to meet with Britain’s secretary in the six counties when he was in Derry to meet with relatives and legal representatives of the Bloody Sunday families.

The McGuigan family say they are deeply concerned about meetings Shaun Woodward held with some of the soldiers involved in the murders.

The family's legal representative, Mr Desmond Doherty, has requested a copy of the minutes of these meetings and said he can see no logical reason why the British government should be holding meetings with British soldiers involved in Bloody Sunday.

He said: “I have contacted the Secretary of State's office asking for the minutes of the meeting he held with some of the soldiers. They responded that they were treating that as a Freedom of Information request but I told them that it was no such thing.

“I think the McGuigan family has the right to know why these soldiers were meeting with representatives of the British government.

“We have a right to know what was discussed and why these meetings were held.”

He continued: “What concerns us most is the fact that Soldier F, the man we believe shot Bernard McGuigan, could well have been at that meeting and we can see no logical reason why the British Secretary of State should be sitting down with him discussing the Saville Report.”

The Saville Report on the Bloody Sunday killings is due to be given to the British government next March and the relatives are currently in talks with that government on how the report will be released and when they will receive a copy.

 

 

Bloody Sunday Remembered in the English Midlands
TOM News 25/01/10

The Troops Out Movement, which campaigns for British withdrawal from Ireland, held its annual Bloody Sunday Remembered meetings in the Midlands last week. The 1992 BBC film by Peter Taylor Remember Bloody Sunday was shown and the main speaker was Cahil McElhinny, whose brother Kevin was shot dead by British soldiers on Bloody Sunday, 30th January 1972.

The families have suffered 38 years of loss with no government acknowledgement of the truth of that day.

Peter Taylor’s film Remember Bloody Sunday shows the horrific reality of what happened on the day of the massacre. It shows the lengths the British army went to trying to cover up their atrocities, the stunned disbelief of the people of Derry out on a fine day to protest about Internment and the shock and disbelief of the relatives who lost their loved ones. It shows the outrageous arrogance of senior army officers refusing to admit they did anything wrong and the honesty of one sergeant major seriously critical of the army actions and attitudes.

It also exposes the original Widgery Tribunal for the pack of lies it was.

Interestingly in the film Colonel Derek Wilford refers to “normal operations of war”, “act of war” and “..... end the war in Ireland”. When did the British government admit that they were at war in the Six Counties? Their army spokesman exposed the British lie of its motivation for being in Ireland. It certainly wasn’t peacekeeping as the British people were told.

Cahill went on after the film to speak of the Saville Inquiry and the relatives’ frustration at the lack of progress with publication of the report.

It is over five years since the end of the Inquiry. The relatives have been told that the report is at the printers and has to be proof read three times. They have been told that it should be released in March, but of course, if the Prime Minister announces the date of the General Election it will then be shelved and the Tories have said that they will bury the report as it has cost far too much already.

The high cost of the Saville Inquiry is because the British authorities told lies in the first place.

Lies and cover ups are what have cost millions, truth costs nothing.

Cahil spoke of the British army’s destruction of the rifles used on Bloody Sunday just days before the Inquiry started. No-one has been charged with perverting the cause of justice.

Cahil also spoke to remind us of the Ballymurphy Massacre when eleven people were shot dead during the first three days of internment in August 1971. If the British authorities had dealt with this atrocity, carried out by the same soldiers who went on to commit the murders in Derry, maybe Bloody Sunday would never have happened.

Cahill was also a guest speaker at the Annual General Meeting of Wolverhampton Trade Union Council where he was very well received. Mary Pearson of the Troops Out Movement had spoken on the Saville Inquiry at Birmingham TUC the previous week.

The Troops Out Movement would like to thank Cahil and the other relatives of Bloody Sunday for keeping us continually updated on the progress (or otherwise) of the Saville Inquiry and extend our solidarity greetings to their anniversary events.

 

My Brother Kevin Died Over There

My brother Kevin died over there

Where?

Over there by the monument, a bit further down

Killed by the British army

He’ll be a Northern Ireland Catholic then

He protested about the state’s treatment of …

Don’t tell me, Northern Ireland Catholics

The Paras murdered him - shot him in the back

Well, he was a Northern Ireland Catholic

I know another man who protested about the state’s treatment

Another Northern Ireland Catholic?

I don’t know, but he stood in Tiananmen Square in front of a tank

They call him a hero

My brother Kevin died over there running for his life

Lord Saville, what will you say about my brother Kevin who died over there?

Cahil McElhinney


 

Further delays feared in Bloody Sunday report
Derry Journal 01/02/10

A Leading Human Rights Lawyer has backed calls for Lord Saville to publish the Bloody Sunday report himself to prevent it being redacted.

Speaking at the annual Bloody Sunday lecture delivered in An Culturlann in Great James Street on Friday, Christine Bell warned that "big chunks" of the report could be altered.

Prof. Bell - who also sits on the Bloody Sunday Trust - said she was fearful of further delays in the publication of the long awaited report.

"There is a danger of delays by soldiers and Ministry of Defence lawyers. If the suspicion is that they are going to be hung out to dry they will try to judicially review the report which could bury it for a long time," she said.

Veteran civil rights campaigner Eamon McCann also addressed the audience about the dangers of possible leaks by the Ministry of Defence.

"This would shrew the vision of the report and the first impression the public get of the Saville Report is vital," he said.

"If it is favourable to the Ministry of Defence, that could cause real problems for the families."

 

 

The search for truth and justice continues
Derry Journal 01/02/10

Bloody Sunday: John Kelly's harrowing memories of the day he lost his brother Michael forever

There's a map of the world on a wall in the Museum of Free Derry and it tells a story that words simply cannot.

Carefully placed drawing pins indicate countries that people have come from to learn the story of what happened in Derry on January 30, 1972.

People from Iraq, Uruguay, Greenland, America and Australia and from many other countries have all travelled to the museum in Glenfada Park in the Bogside.

Each person comes away with a true sense of what it was like to be on the infamous civil rights march which ended with 13 people losing their lives in the Bogside. That day became known as Bloody Sunday.

John Kelly's 17-year-old brother Michael was among those shot dead that day. For nearly 40 years, John, along with all the other families who lost relatives on Bloody Sunday, have searched relentlessly for the truth and have demanded that their loved ones be declared innocent by the British government.

John, now 62-years-old, is the Museum of Free Derry's Education and Outreach Officer. He recalls with striking detail the hours leading up to the moment when British Paratroopers opened fire and talks honestly and openly about how, later that day, he had to accompany his father to the morgue at Altnagelvin Hospital to identify his brother's body.

"We eventually arrived at Altnagelvin and we took Michael into the Accident and Emergency ward," says John. "We laid him out on a bed and the doctor came in. He examined Michael and turned to me and said: 'I am sorry but your brother is dead'. I asked him if he was sure and he told me again that Michael was dead. I was completely numb."

John was born in Bridge Street in October 1948. Two years later, his family moved to Limewood Street before settling in Dunmore Gardens in Creggan.

"My parents, John and Kathleen, raised a family of nine girls and two boys. I had another brother who died when he was very young. My father was unemployed for most of his life and my mother made ends meet by running what would be known now as a catalogue club. Times were tough and we didn't have an awful lot."

John attended St. Eugene's Primary School in Francis Street before moving on to the Christian Brothers were he stayed until he was 16-years-old.

"Before all the trouble started, life was good. I loved growing up in Derry. I remember one time when myself and my cousin Hugh McConnell went out the back of our houses in Dunmore Gardens and took all the wood from the fences and chopped it down into wee sticks. We went round all of the houses and sold it to people as firewood. They were innocent times."

Political opinion and ideology was not something that John was familiar with when growing up in Creggan in the 1960s. He describes a virtually unimaginable place and an era when Protestants and Catholics lived peacefully side by side. But, like many young Catholics, his opinion changed completely when a civil rights march in Derry was attacked by the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) in 1968.

"That day was a bit like when JFK was shot dead in the sense that you always remember where you were," says John. "I was getting my hair cut at the barbers near the Rossville Flats by Dana's father when the news came over the radio that the march had been attacked. I knew that there was a civil rights march taking place but I wasn't sure what it was all about.

Political awakening

"It was a political awakening for me. I soon began to understand what was happening around me."

In August 1969, John got married and, soon after, the Battle of the Bogside erupted. Widely viewed as one of the important events of the Troubles, the Battle of Bogside took place after the RUC attempted to break up a protest by nationalists over a loyalist Apprentice Boys march through the city centre.

"Relations between Protestants and Catholics severely deteriorated after the Battle of the Bogside. It was really, really bad," he says.

The situation went from bad to worse when the British Army was deployed to Northern Ireland and, in August 1971, internment without trial was introduced.

"When Seamus Cusack and Desmond Beattie were both shot dead in the Bogside, I remember thinking to myself that things were going to get really bad," says John.

On January 30, 1972, the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association organised a march in Derry. The march was due to make its way to Guildhall Square but because of barricades it was re-routed to Free Derry Corner in the Bogside.

"I was living with my wife and family in Beechwood Avenue at the time," says John. "I got up early, went to Mass and then came home and had my dinner. I remember calling into my parents' house and Michael was really looking forward to the march. My mother didn't want to let him go but, eventually, she agreed and told him he could go.

"Myself and Michael left the house together. I was meeting up with my friends and he was meeting up with his friends. I told him that if any bother should break out then he was to start running and to get home as soon as possible.

"I remember the march making its way down William Street and I looked over at the General Post Office and I remember seeing the red berets of the Parachute Regiment - I thought it was a bit strange.

Barney McGuigan

"We made our way into Chamberlain Street and I remember that a few riots broke out so we decided to make our way to Free Derry Corner where all the speeches were taking place. On my way to Free Derry Corner, I ran into Barney McGuigan. I knew Barney because we worked together at the old BSR factory in Drumahoe and he used to give me a lift to work every morning. Little did I know that, soon after talking to him, Barney would be shot dead near the Rossville Flats."

Nothing could have prepared John for what was about to happen. Just shortly after 4pm, the Parachute Regiment was given the order to move into the Bogside and moments later opened up with live ammunition.

"Hundreds of people just started running when the shooting started. I was very near the Rossville Flats so I just ran and took cover behind a wall until the shooting stopped.

"When I got up, I went to run towards Lisfannon Park and I remember hearing two whizzing sounds go past my head. They made the same sound that bullets would make if they went that close – I was terrified.

"By pure coincidence, one of my brother-in-laws was taking cover behind one of the walls. We kept our heads down and we were asking one another what was going on. There was another lull in the shooting and we went to come out from behind the wall and two shots whizzed past my head. I looked left, right and directly in front of me and I couldn't see a single soldier which left me in no doubt that the shots had come from the Walls.

"Eventually, we were able to come out and we looked over and saw that a lot of people were gathering in Abbey Park. We both went over to have a look. It was the body of Gerry McKinney. He was dead but some of the people were trying to resuscitate him. I couldn't believe what I was seeing.

"Then someone called my name. They told me to come quick because Michael had been shot. They had taken Michael's body into a house in Abbey Park. I went to the house and helped to carry his body into an ambulance. There must have been about 13 people in the ambulance, it was madness. As we left Glenfada Park in the ambulance, Paratroopers tried to stop us. I just snapped and told them to 'f*** off'."

Shortly after arriving at the hospital, John phoned his father and told him what had happened and said that he had to come to Altnagelvin.

"My father arrived and we were both taken to the morgue. When we went in, there were three or four dead bodies lying on beds. There was blood everywhere and we had to look at each dead body until we arrived at Michael. When my father saw Michael he went completely weak and fell to the floor.

"There was police outside the morgue and, as we made our way out, they said they wanted to ask us some questions. We had just identified Michael's body and they wanted to ask us questions! I was furious and told them to leave us alone.

"As we waited in the car for my father to finish off signing some paper work, an army Saracen pulled up outside the hospital. A few of the soldiers got out and went to the back of the vehicle and pulled three dead bodies out by the ankles. They had to be declared dead by a doctor. As soon as they were finished, they brought the dead bodies out and threw them in the back of the Saracen again – I couldn't believe it."

Devastated family

The devastation and sense of loss felt by the Kelly family was inconceivable. John and his sisters had lost their brother and his parents had lost their youngest son.

"Until the day my mother died, she carried a picture of Michael with her wherever she went," says John. "She was so protective of him and it wasn't until later that I found out that, when myself and Michael left to go on the march that day, my mother followed him so that she could keep an eye on him.

"Michael was very sick when he was younger. He was in a coma for three weeks and the doctors said that he could die. My mother refused to hear any of it and she walked to and from the Waterside Hospital every day just to be with him when he was sick. That's why she worried about him so much.

"My mother had no memory of the five years after Michael's death. She was completely heartbroken. I remember one time, on a particularly cold day, she was found walking up Broadway with a blanket under her arm. When she was asked where she was going, she said that she was taking the blanket up to the cemetery to keep Michael warm.

"I also remember years after Michael's death a soldier was shot in Westland Street. My mother went to his aid and comforted him. She said that the reason she did it was because, as far she was concerned, every boy was somebody's son and that was all that mattered."

Kathleen Kelly died in 2004 but before her death she did attend the opening of the Saville Inquiry.

"About a year and half before she died, my mother had a stroke. Things were really bad at the time and she was very unwell. I wanted to give her some peace of mind so I went to her and told her that we had won the case and that Lord Saville had ruled that Michael was innocent. She was so happy. I just had to do it."

With Lord Saville due to hand his report over to the Northern Ireland Secretary of State in March, John believes that the families will get the truth they have searched for.

John also remains determined to ensure that the soldier who shot Michael is charged with murder.

"Murder is murder and I firmly believe that I will see that soldier prosecuted for the murder of Michael. We have been told that this soldier shot dead four of those killed on Bloody Sunday. If there's any sense of justice or closure to be had, he has to be prosecuted.

"I remember watching him as he gave evidence at the inquiry. He claims to have no memory of what happened that day and he showed no remorse for what he had done – I was totally shocked. How can you not remember taking four human lives?

"I hope to see him again in court and I believe I will see him in court.

Prosecutions

"I pray that, when Lord Saville publishes his report, all those who were shot dead or injured will receive a full declaration of innocence; we want to see the Widgery Tribunal repudiated and we want to see the soldiers who killed people that day prosecuted.

"I hope, pray and believe that all the other families who lost relatives on Bloody Sunday will get their justice, too."

 

 

MI5 case raises Bloody Sunday fears
Derry Journal 16/02/10

An attempt by the British Government to influence a judge who criticised MI5 has raised fears that the Bloody Sunday report may be doctored.

A Derry MLA has stated that the handling of the Binyam Mohamed case - in which a top English judge was asked by the government’s leading lawyer to reconsider his draft judgment and criticism of MI5 before it was handed down - proves the need for the Saville Inquiry to publish its findings at the same time as it is given to the Secretary of State.

Lord Neuberger, the master of the rolls, found that the Security Service had failed to respect human rights, deliberately misled parliament, and had a "culture of suppression" that undermined government assurances about its conduct.

Sinn Fein assemblywoman Martina Anderson said the revelation “dispelled any doubts” about the need for Saville to make his findings known to the families at the same time as the British Government.

“What this case clearly shows is that the British establishment will still seek to do whatever it takes to cover up its own wrongdoings.

“None of us should be under any illusions that they will treat the Saville report any differently, which is why it must be given to families at the same time as the British Government.

“Otherwise, the establishment, their government and their army, whose actions Saville has been investigating, will have plenty of time, definitely weeks, possibly even months, to prepare their responses and their excuses, and to edit, leak and spin the report to suit themselves.

“That is simply unacceptable. There must be no more cover-ups and no more coercion. It’s time to set the truth free.”

 

 

Lord Saville - Set the Truth Free!
TOM News 23/02/10

The Pat Finucane Centre have released the following statement from the Bloody Sunday families and wounded:

“It is now more than 12 years since the Bloody Sunday Inquiry was announced by Tony Blair in 1998. It could be only a matter of weeks until the report from that Inquiry sees the light of day. Lord Saville has indicated that the report will be ready in the week beginning 22nd March. Time and timing are now very much of the essence.

The public will know that we have had discussions in recent months with the northern Ireland Secretary of State Shaun Woodward, An Taoiseach Brian Cowan, and officials from both the Irish and British states regarding the timing and modalities of the release of the report. We have kept Lord Saville appraised of the content and import of these discussions at all stages.

At this moment in time we are gravely concerned regarding two critical issues:

Firstly, the NIO Secretary of State has indicated that he expects to hold the report for a period of up to 14 days to scrutinise it for breaches of Article 2 of the Human Rights Act 2000 and for breaches of ‘national security’ before he publishes it. This means that the securocrats within the NIO and other government departments will see the report before we do.

Our second grave concern is around timing: with the proximity of the Easter Parliamentary recess and the imminence of an announcement of a general election in the week of or close to 22nd March, should the report be given to government at that time for the above-stated purpose, there is little or no chance of the families receiving it this side of an election. To make matters worse, the report will be in the hands of officials within the NIO for a period of several months without any political control from above. This is a frightening prospect for the families as we believe that the report will fall victim to selective leakage and other partisan usage long before the full report sees the light of day.

In short, the Inquiry process, detailed, meticulous and painful as it was, could become a total mess and a travesty in the final few weeks before it becomes public. To compound matters for the families, we have heard not a word from the Secretary of State since we met him in Derry last October despite having written a detailed letter to him in mid November. A lapse of three months without contact is no way to do business.

We believe, in the first instance, that there is no necessity or precedent for the government to expect to receive this or any report commissioned under the 1921 or 2005 Tribunals of Inquiry Act. Indeed, recent precedent in relation to both the Shipman and Hutton Inquiries clearly points to the tribunal chair taking full responsibility for the timing and modalities of the release of such reports to interested parties and to the public.

After a meeting with a representative of the Department of Foreign Affairs at the weekend, the families sent a letter by e-mail yesterday morning to Lord Saville strongly urging him to follow established precedent by taking full responsibility for the release of the report to all interested parties at the same time. At the same time and in the same manner we wrote to Shaun Woodward demanding that he assent to Lord Saville taking full responsibility for the publication of the report.

We are calling on Lord Saville to Set the Truth Free!

We are calling on Shaun Woodward to agree that Lord Saville should Set the Truth Free!

We are now calling on all of the above-name individuals, as well as Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, Foyle MP Mark Durkan, Paul Fleming the Mayor of the city, as well as MLAs, to act now to prevent the Saville Report from becoming a total debacle and to assist in setting the truth free.”

Support

The Pat Finucane Centre is supporting the Bloody Sunday families in their concerns about the proposals to submit the report of the Saville Inquiry to the Ministry of Defence prior to releasing it to the families.

The Pat Finucane Centre is also working with families engaging with the Historic Enquiries Team (HET). These families include people whose relatives were killed by the British army.

Paul O’Connor of the Pat Finucane Centre said: “These families receive reports from the HET of their findings on the circumstances of the death and the investigations carried out after the killing.

The HET reports are not submitted for vetting to the British government or for approval to the Ministry of Defence.

“We are deeply concerned that the Bloody Sunday Inquiry report is to be submitted for what amounts to vetting by the Ministry of Defence.

“We are concerned that the government is apparently implying that Saville and his team are not competent to ‘Article 2-proof’ the report.”

Action alert!

The Troops Out Movement join the Pat Finucane Centre in offering full support to the Bloody Sunday families and call for Lord Saville to RELEASE THE REPORT TO ALL INTERESTED PARTIES AT THE SAME TIME!

We also call for our members and supporters, and visitors to this website, to take action.

What can you do?

  • Write to Shaun Woodward, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, and also your own MP at the House of Commons London SW1A 0AA. Shaun Woodward's e-mail is: woodwardsh@parliament.uk. You can find your MP's contact details at: www.writetothem.com
  • Bombard MPs with letters, telephone calls, faxes and e-mail messages. Find their details at www.parliament.uk
  • Organise delegations to MPs' surgeries
  • Call radio talk shows and write letters to newspapers
  • Propose a motion at your trade union/political party/community group meetings

Let us ensure people in England, Scotland and Wales are aware of what is being done in their name!

 

 

Trust and the Bloody Sunday report
Derry Journal 23/02/10

By Eamonn McCann

Secretary of State Shaun Woodward says that the Bloody Sunday Families should trust him to be fair in his handling of the report of the Saville Tribunal.

Woodward wants to retain the report for some unspecified period after Saville delivers it - a fortnight has been mentioned – before passing it on to the Families and other parties. The purpose, he says, is to allow government officials, including from MI5, to check whether Saville has inadvertently put national security at risk or breached articles of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The arrangement would give the government representatives an opportunity to comb through the expected 4,500 pages of text before anyone else has sight of it. This would put the Families at a huge disadvantage when it comes to assimilating and analysing the findings.

Woodward insists that New Labour wouldn't dream of using this procedure to try to influence the presentation of the findings or to muffle or deflect criticism of its agencies or armed forces.

They should try telling that to Binyam Mohamed.

The week before last, three of Britain's most senior judges - Lord Judge, the Lord Chief Justice; Sir Anthony May, president of the Queen's Bench Division; and Lord Neuberger, Master of the Rolls - rejected pleas from Foreign Secretary David Miliband that they should suppress a seven-paragraph document showing that MI5 officers had been involved in the torture of Mr Mohamed while he was being held in a "black site" in Pakistan by the CIA.

The document showed that MI5 had supplied the CIA with information and questions to be put to Mr. Mohamed though it was aware that Mohamed was being subjected to treatment which, if administered in the UK, would be in clear breach of undertakings about interrogation techniques made by the British government following the scandal of the ill-treatment of internees in Long Kesh in 1971.

In his draft judgment, circulated to the parties to the case, Lord Neuberger was fiercely critical of MI5's behaviour. The Government responded by instructing its chief lawyer, Jonathan Sumption QC, to write to Neuberger - without informing Mohamed's lawyers - urging him to reconsider his draft before delivering it in court. Neuberger agreed. But Sumption's letter was then made public after lawyers for Mohamed, having become aware of what was afoot, went back to court and argued that it was wrong that they hadn't been given a chance to rebut Sumption's argument.

Sumption's letter was astonishing stuff. He warned that the judgment as it stood would be seen as finding that MI5 did not respect human rights; had not given up "coercive interrogation" techniques; had deliberately misled parliament; and had revealed a "culture of suppression" in its dealings with the Government and the court.

The judgment as a whole would be "exceptionally damaging" to MI5, said the government. On this basis, they wanted it changed.

Had Mr. Mohamed’s lawyers not rumbled what was happening, the “exceptionally damaging” judgment might never have come to light.

This was as clear a case as it is possible to imagine of a government trying by devious means to change the findings of a senior judge in order to conceal evidence of its security services’ wrong-doing.

The same government, through Mr. Woodward, now wants the Families to accept its bona fides with regard to Saville to the extent of agreeing that MI5 officers should be allowed to pore over the Report in advance to see if there’s anything in it which they would rather was taken out.

They have some neck.

 

 

The unsettling power of MI5
Derry Journal 12/03/10

By Eamonn McCann

My own understanding of the power of MI5 was greatly enhanced in a week in May 2003 which I spent at the Bloody Sunday hearings in London, when seven former or serving MI5 officers testified.

All apart from disaffected ex-officers David Shayler and Annie Machon gave their evidence anonymously and screened from the public.

One of the high (or low) points of the week came when Barry McDonald, representing the families, asked "Julian", a retired member of MI5 who had run agents in the North in 1972, whether there had been any informers of consequence in the Bogside around the time of Bloody Sunday other that a man, "Observer C", who had already been mentioned in evidence. Before "Julian" could answer, Alan Roxburgh QC, one of the Tribunal's barristers, interjected: "My understanding is that the Security Service does not object to that question being answered. But in case my understanding is wrong, I would invite Mr. Sales to confirm the position, if he can."

Philip Sales QC, MI5's representative at the Inquiry, responded: "I can confirm that what Mr. Roxburgh has said is correct." The question was then allowed.

This scene was re-enacted on around a dozen occasions during the week - MI5's man intervening to explain the agency's requirements with regard to the parameters of the questioning. On no occasion did the Tribunal reject Sales's guidance.

At one point, McDonald asked "Julian" about a reference in a document to a device called an "Alvis." "By the way, what is an Alvis?"

Roxburgh (for the Tribunal): Before the witness answers that question...I understand that (MI5's) position may be that they are content that it should be indicated that Alvis was a means of communication, but not to provide further details...I will be corrected if I am wrong by Mr. Sales.

Sales. That is correct, sir.

Saville: What Mr. Roxburgh says is right?

Sales: What Mr. Roxburgh says is right, yes.

Saville: I think you will have to leave that there, Mr. McDonald. I am sorry.

And there it was left. MI5 was allowed to dictate what evidence MI5 would provide.

MI5 treated the Inquiry with contempt, and was allowed so to treat it. Now Woodward wants to send a MI5 squad in to examine the report with a view to recommending the removal of any passages which seems to MI5 to compromise national security.

The most unsettling aspect of the matter is that there hasn't been the mother of all political rows about it.

I suppose the preservation of Stormont now takes precedence over all.

 

 

Have the British ever set the truth free?
An Phoblacht 19/03/10

The Mary Nelis Column

Have the British government ever told the truth about the North or indeed the truth about atrocities carried out against defenceless people during their colonial exploits in many countries of the world? What are the chances they will come clean on the atrocity that was Bloody Sunday in Ireland, that they will tell the truth?

The late Monsignor Denis Faul claimed many years ago that he could verify that the British never told the truth about a single incident in the North since 1970.

The delay in the publication of the findings of the Saville Inquiry has added to speculation that this report may be another tissue of lies.

In retrospect, the Westminster government’s default response to the many atrocities carried out in the North since 1970 by their military and intelligence services has been to set up an official inquiry, none of which were about truth. Remember Scarman, Cameron, Hunt, Widgery, Bennett, Stephens, to name but a few.

The objective of most British inquiries was simply to buy enough time to cover up the truth. Sub judice became the convenient legal tool to prevent a prying media from poking their noses into sensitive issues involving the British Army and unionist death squads.

The events in Derry on Bloody Sunday were more of the same but different in that the murder of 14 citizens and the wounding of 28 others was witnessed by hundreds of Derry citizens. Despite this, the British establishment were confident that their version of events on the day would be accepted and press statements were prepared in advance, and sent all over the world, before the blood of the slain had even dried.

The Widgery Tribunal was a typical British response to murder. It was set up to silence the relatives of the dead and to quell the outrage of the people of Derry, still reeling from the shock and disbelief of witnessing what the Derry Coroner described at the time as ‘sheer unadulterated murder’.

Widgery was the ultimate in cover up and whitewash. He didn’t even bother to read the statements of witnesses before reaching his conclusion that the dead were all gunmen and nailbombers and deserved to be shot. It would take 26 years and a lot of campaigning for the British government to apologise to the relatives of the maligned dead and admit that Widgery was indeed a whitewash. The result was the Saville Inquiry.

The beautiful eyes of a child look across the streets of Derry to where he and 13 others were murdered on Bloody Sunday. The eyes are part of the “Set the Truth Free” campaign by relatives demanding that the British government produce the Saville report immediately.

It is 38 years since the eyes of 17-year-old Gerard Donaghy closed for the last time on the town he loved so well. No wonder that on the day of the funeral, the skies of Derry wept for its citizens, shot dead while peacefully protesting internment without trial. In hindsight, it is clear that the actions of the British establishment at that time were to put an end to street protest.

In the aftermath of Bloody Sunday, the people dried their eyes and for the next 37 years on the anniversary of the massacre and organised by Sinn Féin, they marched the original route, demanding not only an end to internment without trial but an inquiry into an atrocity that will never go away until the truth is set free.

So what chances now, 38 years on and 12 years after Saville, that the truth will be set free next week when the report is due to be handed over to Shaun Woodward, the British Secretary of State. The predictions are not good for relatives who were promised the report last October.

Woodward has so far resisted their efforts to have the report given to them simultaneously. It’s the very least they are entitled to.

If its findings are an honest appraisal of the hundreds of participants who were eyewitnesses to the massacre, and whose testimony should substantiate what many of us know already to be the truth, that those slain were not gunmen or nail bombers but were shot down in cold blood, walking their own streets, then why the delay?

Unless, of course, this inquiry, like all the rest, is another British cover up, whose tentacles reach all the way to the higher echelons of the British establishment.

 

 

Woodward makes statement on Bloody Sunday Inquiry
TOM News 22/03/10

The British government’s secretary in the six counties, Shaun Woodward, today made a Written Ministerial Statement to Parliament on the Bloody Sunday Inquiry.

Full text of the statement

“Publication of the report of the Bloody Sunday Inquiry has been long-awaited and it promises to be a hugely significant event in Northern Ireland’s history. But this is also an occasion that will have an enormous impact on the private lives of ordinary people.

I am determined to ensure that arrangements for publication are fair and reasonable, and at all times, I intend to act reasonably in recognition of the interests of the families, soldiers and others involved in the Inquiry, and of my obligations to Parliament.

I am responsible for publication of the Tribunal’s report, once it is delivered to me. I am advised that I have a duty, as a public authority under the Human Rights Act, to act in a way that is compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). To fulfil this duty, I need to take steps to satisfy myself that publication of the report will not breach Article 2 of the Convention by putting the lives or safety of individuals at risk. I am advised that these obligations must be met by me personally, in my capacity as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

Although the Inquiry is also a public authority under the Human Rights Act, I am not entitled to rely on the Inquiry to satisfy my Article 2 obligations and I have a duty to assess this myself. I also have a duty to satisfy myself that publication will not put national security at risk, for example by disclosing details of sources of confidential information.

During the course of the Inquiry, the Government submitted to the Tribunal some material that was relevant to its work but which was too sensitive to be disclosed publicly, usually because it contained information which had been provided to the security forces by individuals. If these individuals could be identified from the details they provided it would endanger their lives. This was explained to the Tribunal in Public Interest Immunity Certificates signed by Ministers, which the Tribunal accepted.

I understand that the Tribunal does not intend to refer to any material covered by Public Interest Immunity Certificates, but I have a duty to satisfy myself before publication that none of this material has inadvertently been revealed in the report.

The Tribunal also agreed that the identities of a small number of individuals who were engaged on highly sensitive duties should not be disclosed and I need to be assured that these individuals have not been identified. I intend to establish a very small team of officials and legal advisers to assist me in carrying out this necessary exercise.

The team will need to include members drawn from the Ministry of Defence and Security Service, who are familiar with the material covered by the Public Interest Immunity Certificates, but they will be granted access to the report under strict terms of confidentiality and for the sole purpose of carrying out the necessary checks, and they will report directly to me alone. For the avoidance of doubt, and contrary to some press reports, I want to make absolutely clear that this team will not include any legal representatives of the soldiers who were interested parties at the Inquiry.

In response to a proposal made by some of the families of those killed and wounded on Bloody Sunday, Lord Saville has agreed that this team can carry out the necessary checks on the Inquiry’s premises while the report remains in his custody, before it is submitted to me. I have confirmed to Lord Saville that I am content with this proposal. I understand that the report will be made available for checking some time this week. I believe that these checks are absolutely necessary in order to meet the legal obligations on me.

I have listened to the concerns raised with me by representatives of the families of those killed or injured on Bloody Sunday and I have sought to find ways to address those concerns.

With this in mind, in addition to supporting the proposal made by the families that the checks take place while the report remains in the custody of Lord Saville, I have also sought Lord Saville’s permission to allow Counsel to the Inquiry to be present during the checking process. He has agreed to this in principle, making it clear that they will be acting as representatives of the Inquiry and not as advisers to me, or those who are reporting to me.

I want to publish the report in its entirety. Should any concerns about the safety of any individual arise, my first course of action would be to consider whether these can be addressed through alternative means.

Were I to reach the conclusion, on advice, that a redaction to the text might be necessary, I would consult Lord Saville.

In the very unlikely event that any redaction were deemed necessary, my intention would be to make this clear on the face of the report.

Once the checking process is complete, a publication date can be set and the report can be printed. The report will be published for this House, in response to an Order for a Return which I will invite the House to make.

It is, of course, possible that a General Election might be called in the meantime. Lord Saville has informed me that if it becomes clear that it will not be possible for the report to be published in advance of the dissolution of Parliament, the Tribunal will agree to retain custody of the report until after the General Election.

The report must be published first for this House, but I acknowledge the importance of this Inquiry’s findings in the lives of a large number of individuals and I have received the consent of the Speaker to facilitate a period of advance sight on the day of publication to those most directly affected by the report’s contents.

I will seek to offer advance sight on the day of publication to one representative of each of the families designated as full Interested Parties to the Inquiry and to their legal representatives, without distinction between the families of those killed and of those wounded.

Equal arrangements for advance sight will be offered to those soldiers most centrally involved in the subject matter of the Inquiry.

In keeping with practice for other public inquiries, some Members of this House will also be granted a period of advance sight on the day of publication to enable them to respond to the oral statement which I propose to make to this House on the day the report is published.

I am grateful to the Speaker for his acceptance of the proposals which I have made in relation to advance sight. I will write to Lord Saville, legal representatives of Interested Parties, the leaders of political parties and others as necessary to confirm arrangements as soon as possible.”

 

 

Bloody Sunday families angry at Saville delay
BBC News 23/03/10

There is growing anger amongst the Bloody Sunday families that they may not see the report into the killings until after the general election.

On Monday, Secretary of State Shaun Woodward said the document would remain with Lord Saville if Parliament is dissolved before it has been checked.

Government advisers are reviewing it to ensure it does not endanger anyone or breach national security.

"We have lost hope in the whole process," said one relative, Kate Nash.

Her brother William Nash was killed on Bloody Sunday, and her father Alex was injured.

She said her family is now discussing whether they should continue to engage with Lord Saville.

"We feel the process is now being politically driven, and we're certainly not happy.

"National security is basically a cloak that governments use to hide things they don't want the public to know about.

"We have lost complete confidence in the whole thing."

On Monday, Mr Woodward said a date for publication would be set once the checks take place.

The report is being checked by a small team of officials and legal advisers, which will include staff from the Ministry of Defence and MI5.

However, lawyers representing the soldiers directly involved in the inquiry will not be allowed to check the report before its publication.

"Once the checking process is complete, a publication date can be set and the report can be printed," Mr Woodward's statement said.

"It is, of course, possible that a general election might be called in the meantime.

"Lord Saville has informed me that if it becomes clear that it will not be possible for the report to be published in advance of the dissolution of Parliament, the tribunal will agree to retain custody of the report until after the general election."

Relatives of the victims of Bloody Sunday and the soldiers most centrally involved in the inquiry would be given an advance copy of the report on the day of its publication.

'Too much detail'

SDLP MP for Foyle Mark Durkan, criticised the statement and said it would bring new questions about the likely date of the report's publication, "given the uncertainty" around the parliamentary calendar and what time would be taken to consider right to life and national security questions.

He said the bereaved families still "resent and reject the idea that British government officials should have a prior, long access to the report as opposed to the few hours being accorded to them".

Mr Woodward said he was determined to ensure that arrangements for publication were "fair and reasonable".

He added that at "all times" he intends to "act reasonably in recognition of the interests of the families, soldiers and others involved in the inquiry, and of my obligations to parliament".

Thirteen people died after paratroopers opened fire during a civil rights march in Londonderry in January 1972. Another person died later of their injuries some time later.

 

 

Bad for justice if Saville inquiry is censored: relative
Belfast Telegraph 23/03/10

Relatives of the Bloody Sunday victims have urged Lord Saville to help “speed through” the security checks of his report after the Government said publication could be delayed until after the election.

They also warned it would be a “bad day for justice” if sections of the report are blacked out after the Secretary of State set out details of the checks to be made on it.

Shaun Woodward is drafting in the MoD and security services to sift through the 4,500-page document to check intelligence sources are not identified.

That would breach Human Rights laws by putting them in danger and could also jeopardise national security, he said in a statement to Parliament yesterday.

Mr Woodward confirmed that publication of the long-awaited findings could be delayed until after the General Election.

He insisted contingency plans had been put in place for Lord Saville to hold on to it since fears were raised this month that it could end up “languishing in a warehouse” once the date of the General Election is announced.

But Tony Doherty, whose father Patrick was one of 14 people killed after paratroopers opened fire during a civil rights march in Londonderry on January 30, 1972, said the families could not face having to wait another three or four months for its publication.

He added that redacting — blanking out — sections of the report could undermine confidence in the publication. “We don’t agree with the security review, we don’t feel there is a need for one.

“Lord Saville is legally competent to produce his own report. Our concern now is also that the families have this publication before the election otherwise it could be June or July. Lord Saville should ensure everything is done to speed up this process.”

Mr Woodward said once checking is complete a publication date can be set. It will be released to Parliament first with families and soldiers seeing it hours before.

He added that during the inquiry, the Government submitted material too sensitive to be disclosed publicly, usually because it was supplied by individuals.

“If these individuals could be identified from the details they provided it would endanger their lives,” he said, adding: “I want to publish the report in its entirety. Were I to reach the conclusion, on advice, that a redaction to the text might be necessary, I would consult Lord Saville.”

The Bloody Sunday Inquiry in a statement last night said it had given final approval to the proofs of its report.

 

 

British govt lawyers get Saville report
RTÉ News 24/03/10

Northern Ireland's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness has told British Prime Minister Gordon Brown that any delay in publishing the Saville report on Bloody Sunday is unacceptable.

Mr McGuinness met the Prime Minister in London along with Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams, after the mammoth dossier from Lord Saville was made available to British government lawyers today.

13 people died after paratroopers opened fire during a civil rights march in Derry in January 1972. A fourteenth person died of injuries some time later.

Mr McGuinness said the imminent announcement of a general election should not be used by the British government as an excuse to delay the publication of the report.

He said the families had already faced years of frustration in seeking the truth.

After 12 years of the Saville Inquiry there should be no further delays, he said.

Government lawyers are to check the contents of the report for material which could pose a threat to life or national security ahead of publication.

Northern Secretary Shaun Woodward confirmed the development in the House of Commons.

'Without the Saville Inquiry, there would have been no stable peace process,' he said.

'Because of the inquiry, it has been possible to establish the bona fides for a peace process to succeed, and all of the House will be grateful for that success.'

Once the report has been checked, Lord Saville will hand it to the Northern Secretary for publication. This may be delayed until after a general election in Britain.

SDLP Foyle MP Mark Durkan said Mr Woodward's comments were a clear indication that Lord Saville has now absolutely completed the report from his point of view.

He repeated that family members do not accept or trust the role of government lawyers, particularly from the Ministry of Defence or MI5, 'checking' the report for human rights infringements on behalf of the Secretary of State.

'Moreover, some are now questioning why this 'checking' should take place in these weeks if there is not a definite commitment to publish the report 'within days' as the Secretary of State declared on his recent visit to Derry. Nor is there any definite commitment to publish the report before Parliament is dissolved', Mr Durkan said.

'They have noted that voices in the Westminster opposition have said that the report should not be published in advance of the election and are worried that the Secretary of State sounds less committed to doing so than he previously indicated. It would therefore be helpful if the Secretary of State could offer reassurance on his intentions and clarity on his expectation.'

 

 

“Irrespective of what changes are made to this report they cannot re-write history, no matter how hard they try
TOM News 25/03/10

Letters

Sunday 30th January 1972, the Bogside, Derry: The streets flowed with the blood of innocent people attending a civil rights march who were executed/wounded by the forces of the state

Bloody Sunday was nothing less than mass murder carried out by the Parachute Regiment in full view of thousands of people and caught on camera by the world’s media.

This in itself makes it a stand-alone atrocity as there were hundreds of people present that day who witnessed, at first hand, the mass murder of innocent victims at the hands of the forces of the state whose sovereign duty was to protect all of the citizens of this land, irrelevant of their political or religious persuasion.

Thirty-eight years later - two inquiries: Widgery Tribunal (April 1972, report completed within 11wks); Saville Inquiry (April 1998, 12yrs, report still unpublished).

Friday 19th March 2010: The families of those murdered and injured in Derry on that fateful day in January attend a public meeting ‘Set The Truth Free’ in St Mary’s Training College, Falls Road, Belfast to update the community on developments concerning the forthcoming report carried out by the Saville Inquiry.

As of yet no date has been given for the publication of this report, nor will there be whilst the British government continue to use their arsenal of lawyers as a shield to scrutinise this report and redact if necessary, which is happening at present, and will lead to yet another delay in publication until after the general election.

Why would a government whose armed forces - by all intent and purposes guilty of mass murder - be given this report before the families of their victims?

If the murder of my mother was to be properly investigated would the final report be handed over to those responsible for her murder? (In this case the UVF to be scrutinised and redacted as a means of protection for those responsible.)

Irrespective of what changes are made to this report they cannot re-write history, no matter how hard they try.

There are those who say it has been a costly process. I would agree, but costly in more ways than one.

There are the physical costs, the psychological costs and the monetary costs.

The physical and psychological are ignored and the monetary takes precedence.

The latter is a consequence of the British government’s need to cover-up the truth, and at no time have the families benefited financially.

In fact it has been the opposite, as families have incurred personal financial hardship for three-and-a-half decades in pursuit of truth and justice for their dead loved-ones.

Josephine Larmour
Belfast 11

 

 

Slideshow - Bloody Sunday: Real people, real lives
Derry Journal 30/03/10

With the long-awaited Saville Report nearing publication, it is important to remember the real stories behind the victims of Bloody Sunday.

Each of those who died on January 30, 1972, had busy lives, girlfriends, hobbies and families whose lives were torn apart forever by Bloody Sunday.

In this feature - a touching portrait of the victims' lives before that tragic day - we are introduced to a photographer, a golfer, a student, a prankster, and ten other boys and men who we learn are very much like our own fathers, sons, brothers and friends.

Click here to view our slideshow

You can pause each photo by clicking on the pause/stop button on the bottom left corner of the time bar.

 

 

UK election to delay Bloody Sunday report
TOM News 06/04/10

As feared, the Bloody Sunday report into the murder of fourteen civil rights marchers at the hands of the British army will not now be published until after the British General Election, it was confirmed today.

British Lord, Mark Saville, has been instructed not to publish his report on the 1972 atrocity until after the May 6 election, the Northern Ireland Office said.

A spokesperson said: “Now that the Prime Minister has called an election, it will therefore not be possible to publish the Bloody Sunday report to Parliament before Parliament has been dissolved.

“The Secretary of State (Shaun Woodward) has today asked Lord Saville to continue to keep possession of the report and therefore not to hand it over to the Government until the election has taken place.

“It can then be published to Parliament as soon as is practicable after the new Parliament has convened.”

Tony Doherty, whose father was one of those murdered, said he was disappointed by the delay.

He said: “We have known for some time that the dates around the commencement and finishing of the security review and the dissolution of parliament were going to represent an unfortunate coincidence so it is not surprising.

“But it is disappointing nonetheless that the families have to wait until the third or fourth week in May at the earliest.”

John Kelly, whose brother Michael was murdered on Bloody Sunday, said he was frustrated by the prospect of another lengthy delay.

”Every time the report is due to come out, the families come together and start planning for the day and then we have to put it on the back burner,” he said.

“It has been very traumatic and very frustrating. You think you see the end of the road but there is another part added on.”

SDLP Foyle MP Mark Durkan said it was “regrettable” that the Bloody Sunday families and wounded faced a further delay.

He said: “People in Derry would have preferred the Saville Report to have been published well before now and certainly before the election, but they will also recognise that the dissolution days of a parliament would not have been the optimum time for ensuring proper attention for the findings.

“Publication, when it happens, will be a significant test of the new parliament, whoever forms the next British government, and of the British establishment more widely, including the media.”

The report is currently being trawled through by a team of British officials and legal advisers, which includes staff from the British government, its Ministry of Defence and its security service, MI5.

Anything the team read that they feel would be a breach of ‘national security’ may be redacted from the report, so preventing the victims’ families and those wounded - as well as the public - from seeing the report in full.

 

 

New government should make publication of Saville Report ‘an immediate priority’
TOM News 08/04/10

Relatives told no redactions made and report will remain intact

The Bloody Sunday relatives and wounded have spoken of their anger and frustration at news that Lord Saville’s report will be delayed until after the British general election. They have also called on the next British government to make the publication of the report a priority.

Speaking on behalf of the families, John Kelly, whose 17-year-old brother Michael was murdered on Bloody Sunday, expressed the disappointment felt by all those anxiously awaiting the report.

Mr Kelly said: “We were so close to receiving the report, almost at the finishing line, and now we will be made to wait even longer.

“The finger must be pointed at secretary of state Shaun Woodward for the most recent delay, as he insisted on these security checks - checks which we believed were totally unnecessary in the first place.

“In the aftermath of these security checks we have been informed that there were no redactions made to the report and that no information relating to national security was removed.

“We have been told that this means that the report will remain intact and families will see it as Lord Saville wrote it.

“However, it also reinforces the fact that these security checks were a complete and utter waste of time.”

Shaun Woodward had previously claimed that he hoped that the Bloody Sunday report would be published before the general election. However, publication will now be delayed as the British parliament will be dissolved on April 14 ahead of the election on May 6.

Mr Kelly revealed that Mr Woodward is now writing to Lord Saville requesting that he retain the report for the duration of the election.

“We will be insisting that Lord Saville retains full possession of the report until the day it is published by the new government.

“This way he can ensure no possibility of leakage of information contained within the report.*

“We also insist that any new government honour any agreements that the families have reached with the current secretary of state.

“The next government should make the publication of the report an immediate priority.

“Families have waited long enough and it is time to let the world see the report and set the truth free.”

* TOM comment: Was checking of report ‘political’ decision?

Following the team from the British government, its Mod and its spy agency MI5 spending two weeks pawing over the report it is almost certain that, if there is any information to be leaked, it is already in the hands of British establishment ‘officials’.

It might have been a very astute move by Shaun Woodward in delaying the report until after the general election.

He may have ensured that the current Labour government will not have the ‘millstone’ of the Saville Report around its neck in the direct run-up to the election and, at the same time, ensured that the next government may be ‘briefed’ on the report, before its release, by any ‘officials’ who have examined it.

If the report is published any time in the near future, its impact will be nowhere near as damaging for the next British government as it would have been to this one if it would have been published prior to the election.

 

 

Woodward’s reassurances far from convincing
TOM News 09/04/10

Shaun Woodward last night attempted to reassure the Bloody Sunday families and wounded that no politicians have been briefed on the findings of the Saville Inquiry Report.

Earlier this week he said there was not enough time left ahead of the British General Election to allow publication of the document.

British Lord, Mark Saville, said his report was ready to be made public more than two weeks ago but Mr Woodward refused to allow its release until what he claimed were ‘checks for breaches of national security’ were carried out.

The publication of the report has now been indefinitely delayed until after the election.

In a statement to the British House Commons Mr Woodward said: “The report has not been shown to me or to any other member of the government, or to any officials except the five members of the team which carried out the checking process.

“Before the checking process began I confirmed in writing to Lord Saville that it was not my intention that the checking team should brief me or any member of my department on the content of the report. They have not done so and will not do so.”

Mr Woodward’s attempt at reassurance is interesting. It is public knowledge that Saville retained possession of the report while the team of ‘officials’ examined it.

The worry is not who has seen it (we know that), but who may be briefed on its contents prior to publication.

Mr Woodward says it was not his intention that the ‘officials’ brief him or any member of his department on the content of the report, and that they “have not done so and will not do so”.

But the inspection team wasn’t just made up of legal-eagles from the British government; it also included ‘officials’ from the MoD and MI5.

Should the Bloody Sunday families and wounded be concerned that Mr Woodward does not say in his statement that members of those departments ‘have not and will not be briefed’?

 

 

Families call for release of Saville Report without further delay
TOM News 13/05/10

Relatives of those killed and wounded on Bloody Sunday have called upon the new British government’s secretary in the six counties, Owen Paterson, to publish the Saville Report into the 1972 Derry massacre “immediately”.

The long-awaited report of the Bloody Sunday Inquiry was completed by Lord Saville in March and has been ready for publication since.

However, the insistence of Britain’s previous six county secretary, Labour’s Shaun Woodward, to carry out ‘national security’ checks delayed its publication, with its release delayed yet further by the recent election.

John Kelly, whose brother Michael was one of the fourteen men murdered on January 30, 1972, yesterday spoke on behalf of the relatives and wounded.

“The families and wounded of Bloody Sunday call on Owen Paterson as the new Secretary of State to instigate the publication of Lord Saville’s report immediately.

“Mr Paterson himself has said that publication of the report was top of the agenda but we feel we still have to push the issue to ensure its immediate release.

“Shaun Woodward has already signed off on the report and all the preparations have been put in place for its publication so there should be no excuses.

“There is no reason why Owen Paterson should delay this further and we call upon him to release this report into the public domain and to the world immediately.

“We also call on the support of local politicians and Westminster politicians to put pressure on Mr Paterson to release the report without further delay.

“We have waited over 38 years to hear the truth and have dealt with numerous delays.

“We are not prepared to take any more.

“We have prepared ourselves for what is sure to be a difficult and traumatic report into the death and injury of our loved ones.

“If we are forced to wait any longer, then the British government will be playing with the feelings of the families.”

 

 

Families’ relief as Saville Report date is announced
TOM News 26/05/10

The relatives and wounded of Bloody Sunday have expressed their relief that a publication date for the Saville Report has finally been set.

Britain’s secretary in the six counties, Owen Paterson, confirmed the publication date in a written ministerial statement released today. He also announced that British Prime Minster David Cameron would be making the official statement to parliament on June 15th.

Mickey McKinney, whose brother Willie was murdered on Bloody Sunday, said of today’s announcement: “It has been a long wait and we look forward to seeing the report’s findings and to see our relatives’ names cleared of the terrible accusations made against them in 1972.

“The British establishment have denied the truth for the last 38 years. It is our hope now that this report will finally set the truth free.”

Kay Duddy, sister of Jackie Duddy, spoke of the relief felt following today’s news.

“It’s a relief to finally have a date for publication, but it will be very emotional for everyone involved. This report has been long awaited and we’re glad to see an end in sight. We are one step closer to laying our loved ones to rest,” she said.

John Kelly, brother of Michael Kelly, said that today is a day the families have long waited for.

He said: “We are delighted that at last a publication date has been announced. We look forward to the vindication for our loved ones and a declaration of innocence for all the victims of that terrible day.

“Not only are we, the families, looking forward to June 15th, but also the population of Derry and the wider world will finally have access to the truth about Bloody Sunday.”

Tony Doherty, whose father Patrick was murdered on Bloody Sunday, added: “This is a very important occasion for the families involved and will no doubt be a very important occasion for the city of Derry too.

“This is about setting the record straight and ensuring that responsibility for the atrocity of Bloody Sunday is attributed to those responsible for the killings.

“This is also about exposing the lies of the Widgery Tribunal and establishing the full truth, a truth that we have for too long been denied.”

Advance read

Mr Paterson also confirmed that the wounded and relatives of those murdered on Bloody Sunday will be given the opportunity to view the report before it is made public.

Lawyers for the families and wounded will be granted access to the report from 8.00am on June 15th, while the families and wounded will be allocated five hours advance sight from 10.30am onwards.

Similarly, the British soldiers most directly involved and their lawyers will be granted access to the report’s findings some hours before publication.

Several key members of the British parliament will also have an opportunity to see the report in advance of publication to enable them to respond to the statement made on the day of publication.

In addition, Mr Paterson revealed plans for a full day’s parliamentary debate on the report sometime in the autumn.

 

 

Advanced Sight Arrangements For Saville Report Confirmed
Northern Ireland Office 07/06/10

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Owen Paterson, has confirmed arrangements for the families of those killed and injured and soldiers most directly involved to have advanced sight of the report of the Saville Inquiry before the Prime Minister makes his statement to the House of Commons at 3.30pm on Tuesday, 15 June.

Mr Paterson also confirmed that neither he nor any other member of the Government will receive the report until 24 hours prior to the Prime Minister’s statement.

The Speaker of the House of Commons has agreed to offer the legal representatives of the families and the soldiers advanced sight of the Report seven and a half hours before the Prime Minister makes his statement. This will take place in separate, secure locations. Some members of the families and soldiers concerned will have up to five hours advanced sight as will nominated MPs and Peers.

Accredited media will be allowed one hour to look at the Principal Conclusions of the Report.

There will be a strict embargo on any comment on the Report until the Prime Minister has finished his statement.

Commenting on the arrangements, the Secretary of State said: “This will be a huge report not just in size but in its significance for all those directly involved. I am doing everything in my power to ensure that it is published in a way that fully recognises that.

“The previous administration discussed with the families and soldiers a process that would allow them the opportunity to have advanced sight of the report. Having now held my own discussion with the families and soldiers’ representatives I have decided to build on those arrangements.

“I have not seen the report and will not do so until 24 hours before publication. To anybody who might want to speculate on the contents I would urge them wait until next Tuesday when they will be able to comment on the actual report”.

 

 

Together in Hope
Derry Journal 14/06/10


Bloody Sunday family members and relatives attend their final
meeting ahead of Tuesday’s publication of the Saville Report.
(1506PG20) Photo: Phil Gamble

As people throughout the city eagerly await the findings of the Saville Inquiry, last night the families of those killed and wounded on 30 January 1972 met for the final time before the report into the killings is published.

In a show of solidarity and in a collective sombre mood, more than 50 relatives stood together at Creggan's Rath Mór Centre.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, one of the most high profile Bloody Sunday campaigners, John Kelly, expressed his heartfelt thanks to the people of Derry for their support over the past 38 years, and says he wants people in the city to come out in their thousands on Tuesday to stand behind the families of those killed.

Mr. Kelly, whose brother Michael was one of those shot dead, also slammed what he described as the "mercenary" attitude of some British newspapers who have speculated on the findings of the Saville Report in recent days.

"This approach is totally insensitive and the material which has been printed is certainly not helpful. These headlines are put out there to sell papers and the families are doing their best to ignore all speculation until we see the report," he said.

Mr. Kelly continued: "We're all looking forward to Tuesday when we will finally have an answer after 38 and a half years, but we are also very anxious and very nervous. We'll try to be as calm as we can be on the day but none of us will get much sleep the night before. We'll be turning everything over in our heads in the next few days and hoping and praying that we get the answer we want," he said.

Thousands of people including members of the national and international media are expected to converge on Derry's Guildhall Square at 3.30pm on Tuesday where giant screens will broadcast British Prime Minister David Cameron's speech to the House of Commons on the report's findings. Relatives of those killed and wounded will then give their reaction to the long awaited report.

 

 

Bloody Sunday families march original planned route
BBC News 15/06/10

The families of those who died on Bloody Sunday have walked the original route of the march their relatives were on in January 1972, ahead of the publication of the Saville report into the incident.

Video here

 

 

Families arrive to read Saville Report
TOM News 15/06/10

Families of the Bloody Sunday murder victims have entered Derry’s Guildhall to read the Saville Report they hope will exonerate their loved ones.

After more than a decade and 30 million words of testimony, the longest and most expensive inquiry in British legal history will culminate with the publication of its findings.

After a night of anxious expectation in Derry, bereaved relatives hugged each other and cried as they made their way to the venue to get early access to the long-awaited report into the murder of fourteen civilians on January 30 1972 by British soldiers.

The relatives clutched placards bearing the photographs of their dead loved ones, with the words: ‘Set the Truth Free’.

As they arrived at the Guildhall amid emotional scenes, they were greeted with applause.

John Kelly, brother of Michael who was murdered on the day, said he had been unable to sleep as he anxiously awaited the release of the report.

“We are not looking for an apology, you cannot apologise to the dead,” he said.

But Mr Kelly said he hoped that the 38-year struggle to have the circumstances of his brother’s death officially acknowledged was about to end.

The 61-year-old grandfather was among the relatives who formed a silent procession from the memorial to the murdered men and boys in Derry’s Bogside, along the intended route of the ill-fated civil rights march, to the city’s Guildhall.

Bereaved relatives hugged and kissed each other, many wiped away tears, as they set out on their poignant journey.

Mr Kelly said he expected British soldiers to be found to have broken the law and said it would be up to the Public Prosecution Service and the Conservative-led British government to accept the findings of what had happened on the day.

He added: “Murder happened here in this city and the politicians will hopefully agree.

“Bloody Sunday had a great impact on the Troubles here.

“It was a major historical event and today is a major historical event.”

Gerry Duddy, whose 17-year-old brother Jackie was also murdered on Bloody Sunday, said: “I believe that if the British establishment are genuine about turning over a new leaf for the future, this is a great opportunity for them to come out, tell the truth - and this would be a great start for people to believe that hopefully the future will be brighter for everyone.”

  • “If we’re going to talk about the past, let’s talk about everybody’s past.” here

 

 

Videos

Thousands follow original Bloody Sunday route

Bloody Sunday families give ‘thumbs up’

 

 

David Cameron on Bloody Sunday: 'I am deeply sorry'
BBC News 15/06/10

Watch video here

Prime Minister David Cameron has said that he is "deeply sorry" for the conduct of British soldiers during Bloody Sunday.

Addressing the Commons on the publication of the Saville Report, he described the findings as "shocking" and the conduct of the Army as "unjustified and unjustifiable".

Hundreds gathered in Guildhall Square in Derry as David Cameron delivered the findings which unequivocally blamed the Army.

The report said that the Army fired the first shot of the day in one of the most controversial state killings in the Northern Ireland conflict.

 

 

David Cameron’s Full Statement
TOM News 15/06/10

“The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland is publishing the report of the Saville inquiry - the tribunal set up by the previous government to investigate the tragic events of 30 January 1972, a day more commonly known as Bloody Sunday.

We have acted in good faith by publishing the tribunal's findings as soon as possible after the general election.

Mr Speaker, I am deeply patriotic. I never want to believe anything bad about our country. I never want to call into question the behaviour of our soldiers and our army, who I believe to be the finest in the world.

And I have seen for myself the very difficult and dangerous circumstances in which we ask our soldiers to serve.

But the conclusions of this report are absolutely clear. There is no doubt, there is nothing equivocal, there are no ambiguities. What happened on Bloody Sunday was both unjustified and unjustifiable. It was wrong.

Lord Saville concludes that the soldiers of the support company who went into the Bogside did so as a result of an order which should not have been given by their commander.

He finds that, on balance, the first shot in the vicinity of the march was fired by the British Army.

He finds that none of the casualties shot by the soldiers of support company was armed with a firearm.

He finds that there was some firing by Republican paramilitaries but none of this firing provided any justification for the shooting of civilian casualties.

And he finds that, in no case, was any warning given by soldiers before opening fire.

He also finds that the support company reacted by losing their self-control, forgetting or ignoring their instructions and training and with a serious and widespread loss of fire discipline.

He finds that despite the contrary evidence given by the soldiers, none of them fired in response to attacks or threatened attacks by nail or petrol bombers.

And he finds that many of the soldiers - and I quote knowingly - put forward false accounts to seek to justify their firing.

Lord Saville says that some of those killed or injured were clearly fleeing or going to the assistance of others who were dying.

The report refers to one person who was shot while crawling away from the soldiers. Another was shot in all probability when he was lying mortally wounded on the ground.

The report refers to the father who was hit and injured by army gunfire after going to attend to his son.

For those looking for statements of innocence, Saville says that the immediate responsibility for the deaths and injuries on Bloody Sunday lies with those members of support company whose unjustifiable firing was the cause of those deaths and injuries.

Crucially, that, and I quote, none of the casualties was posing a threat of causing death or serious injury or indeed was doing anything else that could, on any view, justified in shooting.

For those people who are looking for the report to use terms like murder and unlawful killing, I remind the House that these judgments are not matters for a tribunal or politicians to determine.

Mr Speaker, these are shocking conclusions to read and shocking words to have to say. But Mr Speaker, you do not defend the British Army by defending the indefensible.

We do not honour all those who have served with such distinction in keeping the peace and upholding the rule of law in Northern Ireland by hiding from the truth.

There is no point in trying to soften or equivocate what is in this report. It is clear from the tribunal's authoritative conclusions that the events of Bloody Sunday were in no way justified.

I know that some people wonder whether, nearly 40 years on from an event, [if] a prime minister needs to issue an apology.

For someone of my generation, Bloody Sunday and the early 1970s are something we feel we have learnt about rather than lived through.

But what happened should never, ever have happened. The families of those who died should not have had to live with the pain and the hurt of that day and with a lifetime of loss.

Some members of our armed forces acted wrongly. The government is ultimately responsible for the conduct of the armed forces and for that, on behalf of the government, indeed, on behalf of our country, I am deeply sorry.

Mr Speaker, just as this report is clear that the actions of that day were unjustifiable, so too is it clear in some of its other findings.

Those looking for premeditation, a plan, those even looking for a conspiracy involving senior politicians or senior members of the armed forces, they will not find it in this report.

Indeed, Lord Saville finds no evidence that the events of Bloody Sunday were premeditated, he concludes that the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland governments and the army neither tolerated nor encouraged the use of unjustified lethal force.

He makes no suggestion of a government cover up.

Mr Speaker, the report also specifically deals with the actions of key individuals in the army, in politics and beyond, including Major-General Ford, Brigadier McLellan, and Lieutenant Colonel Wilford.

In each case, the findings are clear. It does the same for Martin McGuinness. It specifically finds he was present and probably armed with a sub-machine gun but it concludes, and I quote, "we're sure that he did not engage in any activity that provided any of the soldiers with any justification for opening fire".

Mr Speaker, while in no way justifying the events of January 30th, 1972, we should acknowledge the background to the events of Bloody Sunday.

Since 1969, the security situation in Northern Ireland had been declining significantly.

Three days before Bloody Sunday, two RUC officers, one a Catholic, were shot by the IRA in Londonderry, the first police officers killed in the city during the Troubles.

A third of the City of Derry had become a no-go area for the RUC and the Army. And in the end, 1972 was to prove Northern Ireland's bloodiest year by far, with nearly 500 people killed.

And let us also remember, Bloody Sunday is not the defining story of the service the British Army gave in Northern Ireland from 1969-2007.

This was known as Operation Banner, the longest continuous operation in British military history, spanning 38 years and in which over 250,000 people served.

Our armed forces displayed enormous courage and professionalism in upholding democracy and the rule of law in Northern Ireland.

Acting in support of the police, they played a major part in setting the conditions that have made peaceful politics possible.

And over 1,000 members - 1,000 members - of the security forces lost their lives to that cause.

Without their work, the peace process would not have happened.

Of course, some mistakes were undoubtedly made, but lessons were also learned.

And once again, I put on record the immense debt of gratitude we all owe to those who served in Northern Ireland.

Mr Speaker, may I also thank the tribunal for its work and all those who displayed great courage in giving evidence.

I would also like to acknowledge the grief of the families of those killed.

They have pursued their long campaign over 38 years with great patience. Nothing can bring back those who were killed, but I hope, as one relative has put it, the truth coming out can help set people free.

John Major said he was open to a new inquiry, Tony Blair then set it up. This was accepted by the leader of the opposition. Of course, none of us anticipated that the Saville inquiry would take 12 years or cost almost £200m. Our views on that are well-documented.

It is right to pursue the truth with vigour and thoroughness, but let me reassure the House there will be no more open-ended and costly inquiries into the past.

Today is not about the controversies surrounding the process, it is about the substance, about what this report tells us.

Everyone should have the chance to examine its complete findings and that is why it is being published in full.

Running to more than 5,000 pages, it is being published in 10 volumes.

Naturally, it will take all of us some time to digest the report's full findings and understand its implications. The House will have an opportunity for a full day's debate this autumn, and in the meantime the Secretaries of State in Northern Ireland for Defence will report back to me on all the issues which arise from it.

Mr Speaker, this report and the inquiry itself demonstrate how a state should hold itself to account and how we should be determined at all times, no matter how difficult, to judge ourselves against the highest standards.

Openness and frankness about the past, however painful, they do not make us weaker, they make us stronger.

That is one of the things that differentiates us from the terrorists. We should never forget that over 3,500 people from every community lost their lives in Northern Ireland, the overwhelming majority killed by terrorists.

There were many terrible atrocities. Politically-motivated violence was never justified, whichever side it came from. And it can never be justified by those criminal gangs that today want to draw Northern Ireland back to its bitter and bloody past.

No government I lead will ever put those who fight to defend democracy on an equal footing with those who contine to seek to destroy it.

But neither will we hide from the truth that confronts us today.

In the words of Lord Saville, what happened on Bloody Sunday strengthened the Provisional IRA, increased hostility towards the Army and exacerbated the violent conflict of the years that followed.

Bloody Sunday was a tragedy for the bereaved and the wounded and a catastrophe for the people of Northern Ireland.

Those are words we cannot and must not ignore. But I hope what this report can also do it is mark the moment where we come together in this House and in the communities we represent to acknowledge our shared history, even where it divides us.

And come together to close this painful chapter on Northern Ireland's troubled past.

That is not to say we should ever forget or dismiss the past, but we must also move on. Northern Ireland has been transformed over the last 20 years and all of us in Westminster and Stormont must continue that work of change, coming together with all the people of Northern Ireland to build a stable, peaceful, prosperous and shared future.

And it is with that determination that I commend this statement to the house.”

 

 

Videos

Michael Mansfield QC on Saville Report

Victims 'exonerated' - Mark Durkan MP

General Sir Mike Jackson apologises for Bloody Sunday

 

 

Innocent!
TOM News 15/06/10

The 38 year family campaign to prove the innocence of those killed and wounded on Bloody Sunday was vindicated today with the publication of the report of the Bloody Sunday Inquiry.

Lord Saville announced that all those killed and wounded were innocent and that all the shootings by British soldiers were unjustifiable.

The crowd of thousands gathered in the Guildhall Square got their first indication of the positive outcome of the report with thumbs up from family members from the windows of the Guildhall moments before British Prime Minister David Cameron made his statement to parliament.

What follows is the statement from the families read out today from the steps of the Guildhall after a minute’s silence held on behalf of all of the victims of the conflict in the six counties.

“The victims of Bloody Sunday have been vindicated.

“The Parachute Regiment has been disgraced.

“Widgery’s great lie has been laid bare.

“The truth has been brought home at last.

“It can now be proclaimed to the world that the dead and the wounded of Bloody Sunday, civil rights marchers, were innocent - one and all - gunned down in their own streets by soldiers who had been given to believe they could kill with perfect impunity.

“The Parachute Regiment are the front-line assassins for Britain’s political and military elite. The report of the Saville Tribunal confirms this.

“It was the paras mission in Derry to massacre people they thought of as enemies of the state.

“They will have known that murder is what was expected of them when they erupted onto our streets.

“Bloody Sunday wounded Derry. We may hope that from today we can begin to bind up those wounds. But we recognise, too, that the issues arising from the Report go wider and deeper than Derry’s concerns.

“When the state kills its citizens it is the interests of all that those responsible be held to account. It is not just Derry, or one section of the people of Derry, it is democracy itself which needs to know what happened here on January 30th 1972. The British people need to know. The world needs to know.

“Our campaign in the first instance was for justice for our loved ones. But we didn’t fight only for ourselves. We have tried to stand in the place of others who have suffered the same grief and grievous wrong at the hands of unaccountable power and who may never win any official inquiry, who may never have their truth told.

“We are mindful of the victims of the Ballymurphy Massacre by men of the Parachute Regiment in August 1971, of the families of the two men murdered by the paras on the Shankill Road in September 1972 and of all families bereaved by the paratroopers and other state forces over the course of the conflict. And of all who have died here, from whatever background, at whomever’s hand.

“Bloody Sunday was the price the Bogside paid for Free Derry. So it is, always and everywhere.

“Just as the civil rights movement of 40 years ago was part of something huge happening all over the world, so the repression that came upon us was the same as is suffered by ordinary people everywhere who dare stand up against injustice. Sharpville. Grozny. Tiananmen Square. Dafur. Fallujah. Gaza. Let our truth stand as their truth too.

“Bloody Sunday was a great injustice. But the fight for truth and justice has been an inspiration, too. It has deepened our sense of who we are and made us more aware that we are also citizens of the world.

“Nobody who struggles for justice will be a stranger here. Nobody who dies in the struggle for justice will be forgotten here.”

  • Inspirational video of families’ reaction to Saville Report here

 

 

Bloody Sunday Report: At a glance
BBC News 15/06/10

Prime Minister David Cameron has said there is no doubt that what happened on Bloody Sunday was "unjustified and unjustifiable".

Speaking in the House of Commons on Tuesday Mr Cameron said: "The Government is ultimately responsible for the conduct of the armed forces.

"And for that, on behalf of the Government, indeed on behalf of our country, I am deeply sorry."

What David Cameron said:

  • He said it was "wrong".
  • Troops went in as a result of a order that should not have been given.
  • The first shot in the vicinity of the march was fired by the British Army.
  • None of those killed was armed.
  • There was some firing by republican paramilitaries, but none of this was justification for the reaction of the soldiers.
  • No warning was given by British soldiers.
  • It was a loss of self control by soldiers.
  • Some of those shot and injured were clearly fleeing or aiding other wounded.
  • One man was shot when was lying fatally wounded on ground.
  • None of the casualties were doing anything that could justify their killing.
  • You do not defend the British Army by defending the indefensible.
  • No point in trying to soften or equivocate what is in this report.
  • He said the tribunal found that some soldiers had "knowingly put forward false accounts".

Other findings

The report also said Northern Ireland's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness was probably armed with a submachine gun on the day and while it was possible he fired, there was insufficient evidence to make a finding on this.

The report said Mr McGuinness did not engage in any activity which justified the soldiers opening fire.

A soldier, named Soldier F for the purposes of the inquiry, came in for particular criticism from the tribunal.

The report found he shot 17-year-old Michael Kelly "in our view Lance Cpl F did not fire in panic or fear without giving proper thought to whether he had identified a person posing a threat of causing death or serious injury.

"We are sure that instead he fired either in the belief that no-one at the barricade was posing a threat or causing death or serious injury, or not caring whether or not anyone at the rubble barricade was posing such a threat."

Colonel Derek Wilford, who was in charge of paratroops in Derry that day, was also criticised in the report.

It said he should not have launched an incursion into the Bogside, and that he either deliberately disobeyed Brigadier McClelland's order or failed for no good reason to appreciate the clear limits on what he had been authorised to do.

In his report Lord Saville said: "What happened on Bloody Sunday strengthened the Provisional IRA, increased nationalist resentment and hostility towards the Army and exacerbated the violent conflict of the years that followed.

"Bloody Sunday was a tragedy for the bereaved and the wounded, and a catastrophe for the people of Northern Ireland."

 

 

Cameron “deeply, deeply sorry”
TOM News 16/05/10

The Saville Inquiry into the Bloody Sunday killings has found the actions of British soldiers was “both unjustified and unjustifiable”, British Prime Minister David Cameron told MPs this afternoon.

The order that sent British soldiers into the Bogside in Derry “should not have been given”, the inquiry finds, said Mr Cameron.

Mr Cameron said the report found none of those killed by British soldiers was armed with firearms and no warning was given by the soldiers.

The casualties were down to the soldiers “losing their self control”, said Mr Cameron - who added: “I am deeply, deeply sorry”.

He said the tribunal found some soldiers had “knowingly put forward false accounts”.

Beginning his speech, Mr Cameron said: “I’m deeply patriotic, I never want to believe anything bad about our country, soldiers, officers who are finest in the world.

“But, the conclusions are absolutely clear. There’s no doubt, nothing equivocal, no ambiguities.

“Lord Saville finds on balance, the first shot was fired by the British army. None of casualties were armed with firearms.

“Lord Saville says those killed were fleeing or going to those dying.”

Families of the Bloody Sunday victims gave a triumphant thumbs-up as the report into the deaths was published.

They waved a copy of Lord Saville’s mammoth report at the Guildhall in Derry as they prepared to listen to the Mr Cameron’s assessment.

Crowds watched on a big outdoor screen as the British leader said he could not defend the British army by defending the indefensible.

 

 

The Report of the Bloody Sunday Inquiry can be read here

 

 

First joy, then questions
Jude Collins blogspot 16/06/10

I was among those in Guildhall Square in Derry yesterday afternoon and it was indeed a joyous occasion - the very sunshine seemed to join in the happy mood. First we watched David Cameron on the big screen, saying he was ‘sorry’ for what had happened and that the actions of the Parachute regiment were ‘unjustified and unjustifiable’. Then we watched the relatives of the victims’ families, grinning with relief, tearing up the disgraced Widgery report and declaring ‘We have overcome!’ And yet I found a number of questions niggling at my contentment. They just won’t go away so here they are. Maybe you can answer them – I can’t.

1. Why do people keep talking about justice having finally been done? Fourteen innocent people were shot dead, thirty-eight years later, the British government admits they were innocent, and this is hailed as justice?

2. The British government and army representatives are firm on the need NOT to prosecute the soldiers who killed the fourteen people. Yet such prosecution would be the only possible route to justice. Truth is one thing, justice something quite different.

3. We’re told that one important reason why prosecutions should not be proceeded with is that this would demoralise British soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Something wrong there, surely. To pursue justice would make life difficult for those who might have in mind doing the same kind of thing elsewhere in the world? Oh dear.

4. Everybody in Derry, everybody in Ireland knew the truth of Bloody Sunday for the last thirty-eight years. Why then are so many of them excited that the British government, having tried every conceivable alternative, including a whitewash report in the 1970s, has finally admitted that truth? And does anyone think that Owen Paterson and David Cameron are genuinely ‘shocked’ by the findings and now feel genuinely remorseful? Did they believe the Paras were innocent until now?

5. Given Saville’s findings, when (if ever) will someone ask Prince Charles what he thinks? He is, after all, Colonel-in-Chief of that regiment.

6. On my way home, outside Dungiven, I noticed a grassy bank covered in little wooden posts and signs - like 'Keep Off The Grass' signs. I couldn't read what each said but in front of them - and there must have been well over a hundred - a bigger sign said 'Murdered by the British Army'. Unionists like Gregory Campbell speak of the many other forgotten victims. What are the chances he'd include these in his victims list?

7. If the majority of Irish people are nationalists – that is, they want a united Ireland – is it not odd that no one has suggested the British army, including the Parachute regiment, shouldn’t have been in Ireland, let alone shooting Irish people?

 

 

Soldier F: two hours after Bloody Sunday shootings
Belfast Telegraph 21/06/10

This is the first photograph of the paratrooper who admitted shooting dead four civil rights protestors on Bloody Sunday — taken within two hours of the killings.

Soldier F — who told the Saville Inquiry that he shot Michael Kelly, Paddy Doherty, Barney McGuigan and a fourth man, believed to be William McKinney — was pictured at the Fort George base on Londonderry’s Strand Road.

He posed for an “arrest” picture after the paras scooped 30 civil rights marchers in the aftermath of the killings and took them back to barracks, where they alleged he brutalised and spat at them.

Giving evidence anonymously in 2003, Soldier F, who said he fired 13 rounds, said: “There was gunmen and bombers killed” — a claim rejected by the inquiry on publication last week.

He admitted killing Barney McGuigan, shot through the head as he waved a handkerchief on his way to aid dying Paddy Doherty.

Soldier F, who joined the Parachute Regiment in 1966 and left the Army in 1988, now lives outside the UK and is said to be suffering from ill-health.

He may face possible prosecution for murder and lying under oath after Lord Saville accused a number of soldiers of putting forward “knowingly false accounts”.

 

 

Setting the Truth Free
TOM News 25/06/10

An open letter of thanks from the Bloody Sunday families and wounded

To our supporters everywhere

On 30th January 1972, a dark cloud descended upon this beautiful city. It stayed until last Tuesday, 15th June 2010 – over 38 years of a journey. It has now been lifted.

It has been a long journey from the beginning of the Bloody Sunday Justice Campaign to where we are today. Although we have always known the truth - now we can now rest easy - safe in the knowledge that our loved ones have been officially declared innocent by Lord Saville.

From the early days of the campaign, it became apparent that we would need moral, political and financial support. With this in mind, we called upon you, the people of Derry, to help. We couldn’t have done this without you.

Not only have we had strong community support and political support, we have also been fortunate enough to have friends throughout the world eager to help us ‘Set the Truth Free’. Thanks to all those who campaigned, marched and encouraged us over the years. Special thanks must also be conveyed to our legal teams, who faced their daunting task with professionalism and courtesy.

Our gratitude must also be expressed to Bloody Sunday Trust members, past and present, who have been a constant support and guiding light throughout the campaign, and to Cunamh for their assistance throughout the Inquiry.

It would be impossible to name all those who have helped us over the years, but please be assured we appreciate everything you have done. Without your encouragement and support, we would not have been able to stand before you on the steps of the Guildhall last week. Without your perseverance, the story of what happened here on Bloody Sunday would have long since been forgotten.

Last Tuesday was an historic event for the people of Derry and beyond and we gladly share our achievement with all of you. From within the Guildhall we could hear the cheers of the expectant Derry crowds, and this, accompanied by Lord Saville’s verdict and David Cameron’s apology, meant the world to us. The subsequent meeting between families and Protestant church leaders further highlighted the need for healing for all those affected by conflict.

For decades, we, the families and the wounded, had longed for the truth to be set free and we are very grateful that so many were present to share in our sense of relief and achievement. Thank you.

Le buíochas as ucht agus le grá mór (With heartfelt thanks and great love)

The Bloody Sunday families and wounded

 

 

Bad Apples?
TOM News 28/06/10

The Troops Out Movement comments on the publication of the Saville Report into Bloody Sunday

The Troops Out Movement welcomes the pronouncement by British Prime Minister David Cameron that all those killed and wounded on Bloody Sunday were innocent.

We are concerned however, that following the publication of the Saville Report one senior officer and a handful of soldiers from the British army’s Parachute Regiment are to carry the blame for the day’s atrocities.

The blame for Bloody Sunday does not lie solely with Lt Col Derek Wilford and ‘a few bad apples’ on the ground that day.

This is far too simplistic and absolves other senior figures of their share of responsibility and their involvement in mass murder and its subsequent cover up.

Why had a planned civil rights march in Derry been discussed at cabinet level at Stormont the week previously and at cabinet level in London?

Why had a memo been sent to the British embassy in Washington warning of possible adverse reactions if there was trouble in Derry on that Sunday?

Why would a simple civil rights march warrant such high levels of attention unless there was an idea that something controversial might happen?

The Saville Report says soldiers on the ground lost control. But why deploy the Parachute Regiment to Derry? Their brutal reputation was already well known.

Five months before Bloody Sunday, they shot dead eleven people - ten men, including a priest, and a mother of eight - in Ballymurphy. Nine days before Bloody Sunday, they fired rubber bullets and CS gas at close range at civil rights marchers on Magilligan Strand just outside Derry (John Hume also witnessed them beating the defenceless demonstrators).

Parachute Regiment ‘Soldier 027’ admitted to the tribunal that, on the night before the Bloody Sunday massacre, his platoon had been told to ‘‘get some kills’’ the next day.

He has had to be placed in a witness protection programme under a new identity since he gave evidence behind screens at the tribunal and he still fears that his former comrades will kill him. There has already been one attempt on his life, when his landlord was attacked in a case of mistaken identity.

Pile up the case against the deceased

General Robert Ford, who had commissioned the British army’s tactical plan for Bloody Sunday, ‘Operation Forecast’, shouted “Go on the Paras!” as his regiment began their murderous onslaught on the civil rights marchers. This is the man who had earlier written on the subject of ‘rioting’ that he was coming to the conclusion that the minimum force necessary to restore law and order in Derry was to “shoot selected ringleaders”.

General Sir Michael Jackson, who went on to hold the top post in the British army, was involved in writing the ‘shot list’ - the army’s original, and scandalous, account of Bloody Sunday. None of the shots described in the list conformed to any of the shots which evidence indicated had actually been fired. Some trajectories took bullets through buildings to hit their targets!

British Home Secretary Reginald Maudling lied to the British House of Commons and said the paratroopers had acted in self-defence.

As British Prime Minister Edward Heath appointed Lord Widgery to cover up the murders he advised him that Britain was ‘fighting not only a military war but a propaganda war’. The secretary to the Widgery Tribunal said it would “pile up the case against the deceased”, according to declassified documents. Widgery’s report cannot be easily explained away. It was not compiled by someone of inexperience or weak disposition. There was no lack of resources and, importantly, all the necessary evidence was available.

The British authorities spewed out negative propaganda about the innocent men and boys who were murdered and media outlets enthusiastically regurgitated those lies.

The Queen of England publicly displayed her appreciation of Derek Wilford’s service when she decorated him with an OBE shortly after Bloody Sunday.

As Danny Morrison wrote in a letter to The Irish Times (24/06/10):

“Had the British government on February 1st, 1972 admitted what Saville in 2010 declared had really happened on Bloody Sunday then Ted Heath’s government would have fallen, there would have been a crisis in Britain, paratroopers would have faced life imprisonment and, in all likelihood, Britain would have been propelled much more quickly down the road of negotiation instead of fighting a dirty war. Thousands of lives might well have been saved.”

Cover up

The British establishment was responsible for Bloody Sunday and for the subsequent cover-up – and David Cameron admitted this when he said:

“The conclusions of this report are absolutely clear. There is no doubt. There is nothing equivocal. There are no ambiguities. What happened on Bloody Sunday was both unjustified and unjustifiable. It was wrong.

“What happened should never, ever have happened. The families of those who died should not have had to live with the pain and hurt of that day - and a lifetime of loss.

“Some members of our armed forces acted wrongly. The government is ultimately responsible for the conduct of the armed forces. And for that, on behalf of the government - and indeed our country - I am deeply sorry.”

The Bloody Sunday murder victims were shot dead trying to escape to safety from the Paras’ bullets. One victim was shot dead crawling away from the soldiers. One while lying mortally wounded on the ground. Another was shot dead through the back of his head as he waved a white handkerchief while going to the aid of another mortally wounded man. Many were shot dead from behind.

No warnings were given before the Paras opened fire. None of the victims posed “any threat of causing death or serious injury”. The Saville Report states that none of the Paras fired in response to attacks or threatened attacks by nail or petrol bombers.

The bullets fired that day by the British army were well-aimed and were fired deliberately and callously at civilians fleeing for their lives.

The publication of the Saville Report and David Cameron’s apology were wonderful developments for the Bloody Sunday families who have, after 38 years, finally cleared the names of their loved-ones.

They were very handy developments also for the British establishment in its continued concealment of the actions and involvement of senior figures leading up to, during, and subsequent to Bloody Sunday.

Very savvy Saville.

 

 

Reaching conclusions on the Saville report findings
Derry Journal 20/07/10

By Eamonn McCann

A senior Northern Ireland Office representative planted herself in front of me. "That will have to change," she declared, not hiding her anger. "It's totally inappropriate. Everybody agreed this was to be a day for reconciliation."

We were in the corridor outside the main hall of the Guildhall on the day of publication of the Saville Report. She was referring to the statement which had just been read out and endorsed by the families in the hall before being delivered to the crowd outside.

My reaction was puzzlement, then anger at her arrogance. Later, I wondered about "everybody". Hadn't the hermetic secrecy surrounding publication been a main topic of conversation over previous days? How could a NIO official - much less "everybody" - have known in advance what the appropriate reaction should be? And what did she mean by "everybody" anyway?

Appropriate or not, the reaction she desired was soon to bury any discussion of the deficiencies of the report.

I have previously mentioned that if Saville had not cleared Captain Michael Jackson of 1 Para, later Chief of the General Staff, of all blame, David Cameron would not have been able to portray the guilty men as unrepresentative rogue elements and thereby put himself in a position to apologise to the families while simultaneously welcoming the exoneration of the British military and political elites.

Jackson, who had been on the killing ground on the day and had then orchestrated the cover-up, was able to appear on Radio Four's "Today" programme on the Saturday after publication to discuss - in the context of revelations of British use of torture in Iraq - to what extent human rights law should apply to soldiers in conflict situations. This effrontery wouldn't have been possible had Saville followed the evidence - and neither would Cameron's Commons speech.

When it's said that the Report should be an occasion for reconciliation, what's meant is that, in exchange for the families being given what they'd been entitled to all along, we should give the British army and Government what they have no entitlement to whatever - acceptance of their innocence of the Bloody Sunday deaths.

A practical example: The selection of Lt. Col. Derek Wilford as chief scapegoat handed a get-out-of-jail card to all others of the officer class.

Take Major Ted Loden, commander of Support Company, responsible for all the killings and woundings around Rossville Street. If you have the report on-line (Google "CAIN Bloody Sunday Report" for the easiest version to navigate), scroll down to Volume 8, Chapter 165, in which Saville recalls Loden being questioned by Tribunal QC Christopher Clarke about events on the rubble barricade on Rossville Street where, within 50 yards of Loden's position and in broad daylight, with no obstacle to obscure his view, Michael Kelly (17), Michael McDaid (20), John Young (17) and William Nash (19) were shot dead:

In the course of his oral evidence to this Inquiry, Major Loden was shown a film taken on the day by a film crew from ABC News which shows the rubble barricade. There was then this exchange:

"'I think we have reached the position that there is certainly nobody clearly standing behind or on the barricade. The reason that I show you this photograph, this video clip is that it appears from it that the command vehicle, your command vehicle, was present in Rossville Street up until the time when there was nobody readily visible at, on or in the vicinity of the barricade; do you follow?'

"A. (Witness nodding)

"'Q. I see you nodding. It would appear, therefore, to be the position that for anybody who was either in the command vehicle or at or near to the command vehicle, looking towards the barricade, that person would have been able to see whatever happened at the barricade between the time when there were people clearly standing at, on, behind and around it until the time that we see in this photograph when there is nobody visible or if anybody, one person just visible; do you follow?'

"'A. I follow yes, uh-huh.'

"'Q. Do you know why it is that you appear to have seen nothing of what was going on at the barricade between the time when there were people plainly standing at it until the time when there was apparently no-one at it?'

"'A. Well, the answer is: no, I mean I certainly cannot give you an explanation, except to say that I had a lot of other things to do.'

"'Q. What were they?'

"'A. Well, they were talking on the radio; they were looking to see what the other platoons were doing; there were things happening in the Rossville car park. Um, and really, I mean, I can only tell you that I do not have a recollection now of what was happening at the barricade or the situation you describe to me.'"

Saville's finding on Loden is at Volume 8, cp. 165, 4.26 to 4.29. The passage contains no comment at all on whether the Tribunal accepted Loden's claim not to be able to recall having noticed soldiers under his command killing innocent young men.

"In our view," says the Tribunal, "events moved so fast after the soldiers had disembarked in the Bogside that Major Loden had no idea what was actually going on...He did not initially appreciate that something was wrong and did not order a ceasefire or give any other instructions to his soldiers until after all the casualties had been sustained...In our view, at the time the casualties were being sustained, Major Loden neither realised nor should have realised that his soldiers were or might be firing at people who were not posing or about to pose a threat of causing death or serious injury."

My own view is different.

I will turn next week to Saville's finding that Gerry Donaghy probably had nail bombs in his pockets.

 

 

Gerald Donaghey, Saville and the nail bombs
Derry Journal 03/08/10

By Eamonn McCann

The Saville Report devotes more space to Gerald Donaghey - 17 years-old when shot dead on Bloody Sunday - than to any other individual.

Twenty-one chapters (Volume Seven, 125 to 145) are given over to examining whether Gerald had nail bombs in his pockets when his body arrived at an Army station on Foyle Road.

The Tribunal concluded that he "probably" did have the bombs in his pockets. However, it goes on to say: "Gerald Donaghey was not shot because of his possession of nail bombs...He was, in our view...shot by Private G who neither had, nor believed that he had, any justification for firing the shot...It is likely that Gerald Donaghey was trying to escape from the soldiers when he was shot."

So Gerald was as fully exonerated as any of the other victims. Nevertheless, from the point of view of the families, the Tribunal's finding that he had probably been carrying nail bombs was the only cloud on the day and is a continuing source of distress to Gerald's relatives.

Gerry was shot in the back as he fled across the shallow steps at Abbey Park. He was carried into the home of local community leader Raymond Rogan where he was examined by Dr. Kevin Swords. The doctor urged that he be taken to hospital immediately. Rogan and Leo Young carried the mortally-wounded youngster to Rogan's car, laid him on the back seat and set off.

The car was stopped at Barrier 20 in Barrack Street. Rogan and Young were arrested. A soldier then drove the car to "Bridge Camp" on Foyle Road beside Craigavon Bridge. It was here that four nail bombs were found, two in the breast pockets of his denim jacket, two in his jeans pockets.

The question is: how did they get there?

The Report observes that, if the bombs had been planted, this must have happened at Bridge Camp and that, therefore, someone must have been waiting there with the bombs prepared prior to the car arriving - highly unlikely, the Report suggests.

On the other hand, there is compelling evidence that the bombs were not in Gerald's pockets when his body left Rogan's house.

Raymond Rogan remembers it like yesterday and can point to where Gerald's body was laid on the living room sofa. He says that, if there had there been nail bombs in the pockets, he would certainly have seen them. One weighed one pound two ounces, one weighed one pound five ounces, the third was one pound eight ounces, the last two pounds two ounces. Almost half a stone of nails and explosives in the pockets of tight-fitting denims.

Leo Young says that he searched Gerald for identification, putting his hands into his pockets. Dr. Swords "felt over the whole of (Gerald's) body". Donnacha Mac Ficheallaigh and Patsy Bradley also tended to Gerald. None noticed nail-bombs.

Dr. Swords said: "If he had any bulky objects in his pockets, I could not have missed it." But Captain 127 testified that, when he looked at Gerald's body in the back of the car at Bridge Camp, the bombs were "clear and plain to see. Anyone with normal eyesight would not have missed it."

The contradiction would appear to be irresolvable. But the Tribunal came down on one side: "In the end, we have concluded that the difficulties with the possibility that the nail bombs were planted at the Bridge Camp outweigh the difficulties with the possibility that they were in Gerald Donaghey's pockets when he was shot. Since to our minds these are on the evidence the only two viable possibilities, it follows on this basis that, in our view, Gerald Donaghey was probably in possession of the nail bombs when he was shot."

The Report bases this finding on a theory that, in the terror and turmoil of the moment, Raymond Rogan, Leo Young, Dr. Swords and others didn't notice something which in calmer circumstances they couldn't have missed.

But nowhere in the 21 chapters does the Tribunal, in weighing up the theory that the bombs were planted, factor in the pattern of perjury, concealment and cover-up which hall-marked the military evidence in relation to other aspects of the day.

If the evidence establishes beyond reasonable doubt that the bombs were not in Gerald's pockets when his body left Rogan's house but were on his body when or shortly after it reached Bridge Camp, then they must have been planted.

The Tribunal might reasonably have concluded that the evidence on the issue was so inconsistent and riven by contradiction that no finding was possible. Instead, they gave the benefit of the doubt to the soldiers.

It's almost as if the judges, in finding, as they had to, that all the dead and wounded were innocent, reckoned, possibly sub-consciously, that they had to throw a bone to the other side. And Gerry Donaghey fitted the bill.

 

 

Parallels between Bloody Sunday and the murders in Ballymurphy
Andersonstown News 10/.08/10

The aftermath of the publication of the Saville Enquiry was like “a collective wedding in Derry”, according to relatives of the Bloody Sunday victims.

John Kelly, who lost his 17-year-old brother Michael in the atrocity, and Tony Doherty, who lost his father Patrick, spoke at St Mary’s University College on Thursday during Féile an Phobail’s ‘Bloody Sunday After Saville’ discussion.

The pair shared their thoughts and experiences of June 15, when their loved ones were finally exonerated, on what’s next for the Bloody Sunday families now that the dust has settled, and what advice they have for the Ballymurphy Massacre families in their quest for justice.

“It [publication of Saville] was an important day for us, the best day of my life,” said Tony.

“None of us knew what was going to be in the report or what Cameron [British Prime Minister David] was going to say when we made our way to the Guildhall. At 3 o’clock just before he [Cameron] spoke, two of us were given a strong hint that we were going to like what he was going to say. And when he did make his speech it brought the entire floor of the Guildhall to tears – politicians, families, lawyers, everyone.

“When he apologised, the words, the profound manner in which they were delivered, came as a complete shock. No one expects that from a Tory Prime Minister, especially when it comes to Ireland.”

John Kelly spoke of how the night before Saville’s publication none of the families could get any sleep.

“You just did not know what to expect,” said John.

“But within minutes of arriving at the Guildhall and seeing the solicitors reading the report I knew Michael had been declared innocent. Stepping out onto the platform afterwards in front of the crowd was one of the greatest moments of my life. What we achieved, it wasn’t just for me and the families, but for Ireland and the world, as a major injustice had been put right.”

Both men talked about the hostility the families encountered when they first began their campaign for justice on the 20th anniversary of Bloody Sunday in 1992.

“People had to get to know us in those days. For a lot of people, Bloody Sunday was identified as a republican issue and part of the republican propaganda war, so they took their cue from that,” said Tony.

“We were escorted by Garda out of Phoenix Park and as far as the border when we protested against Mary Robinson for not meeting with us.

“However, we were fortunate that we had a core group of people within the campaign that were determined to see this thing through no matter what.”

There was agreement between the Ballymurphy families in the audience and John and Tony that David Cameron was wrong to describe the Parachute Regiment’s actions in the Bogside that day as “a few soldiers who lost control”.

“I was angry at that, I found it insulting,” said one Ballymurphy relative.

“I know for a fact that what happened [Ballymurphy] was as a result of orders from the top.”

“I agree that he was wrong,” said John.

“The Paras were bussed in from Belfast to Derry for a reason. They’re not a police force, they’re a killing machine.

“We know for a fact that they were told in their barracks the night before ‘we want some kills tomorrow’.

“The Paras are too well disciplined to lose control. They knew what they were doing that day and that’s the same with Ballymurphy, they were sent in to kill.”

When asked if they both felt the Bloody Sunday families now had a responsibility to take their campaign as far as it could go on behalf of groups like the Ballymurphy families, both men had differing viewpoints.

“We certainly feel an allegiance to the Ballymurphy families and will provide support, but in my opinion people need to work out for themselves how to approach this matter and be realistic about what you get,” said Tony.

“But I’m not interested in hunting people down for the rest of my days.”

“I do believe that the soldiers should be prosecuted,” said John.

“They have got away with it and through Saville there’s a great chance to prosecute them.

“But I’m happy to hit the streets again and campaign as I believe that these people need to be brought to justice.”

 

 

'This is our new history'
Derry Journal 28/09/10

A fascinating new display detailing the Saville Report and the groundbreaking events of June 15 has been added to the walls of the Museum of Free Derry, marking the first modern addition to its historic storyboards.

The new addition has been described as "vitally important" by museum education and outreach officer John Kelly.

John, whose brother Michael was shot dead on Bloody Sunday, told the 'Journal': "This new board is vitally important in updating our visitors to the events of June 15 - in other words, the exoneration of all our people."

"Everything within the museum is about the history of Derry, even going back to the early 1600s, but this new addition brings Bloody Sunday up to date to where we are now. It's important that people can read this and understand the outcome of all the hard work that we and the wider Derry public have endured over the years. Now this is our new history."

The new Bloody Sunday board includes an extract from the statement read out at the Guildhall on behalf of the families: "the victims have been vindicated, the Parachute Regiment has been disgraced, the truth has been brought home at last, Widgery's great lie has been laid bare".

"That in itself says everything," John says. "It finalises the story up to now and gives a sense of closure to the families, injured and to the greater Derry people too."

"The photographs show joy in people's faces but it also shows the sadness there, too. We were on a long, long journey and this board portrays that journey's end. We're delighted to have included a beautiful photograph of Alana Burke punching the air in triumph, because, let's be honest, it was a triumphant day for everyone involved. We're proud to have this new addition to the museum."

Gerald Donaghey

John also revealed another addition to the museum's content.

"We have also updated the biographical information about Gerald Donaghey who was also shot dead on Bloody Sunday. Gerald was officially declared innocent in the report and there is overwhelming evidence to support this. However, Saville failed to remove the stigma of Gerald having nail-bombs on him. We, the families, are not happy at the manner in which Gerald Donaghey's family have been let down by Saville's findings."

 

 

Bloody Sunday accounts questioned
Belfast Telegraph 03/11/10

Questions have been raised in the Commons about the former head of the British Army's role in the aftermath of the Bloody Sunday killings.

The SDLP's Mark Durkan questioned whether General Sir Michael Jackson was "at the heart of a syndicated deceit" when he compiled fellow officers' accounts of the shootings.

Mr Durkan referred to evidence from Sir Michael, a Parachute Regiment captain at the time of Bloody Sunday, to the Saville Inquiry.

The inquiry reported on the events in Londonderry in 1972 when soldiers opened fire during a civil rights march, killing 13 people.

He said Sir Michael had compiled accounts by the commander of 1 Para, Colonel Derek Wilford, as well as company commanders and the battalion intelligence officer immediately after the shootings.

Mr Durkan (Foyle) questioned whether Sir Michael came up with the accounts himself, which he claimed went on to become the "received state version".

Speaking as the Commons debated the report, Mr Durkan, who was 11 at the time of the shootings, said: "General Sir Mike Jackson gave evidence twice at the inquiry.

"The first time he was in the witness box he failed to mention that within hours of the shootings he was the person who wrote the account that then became the received state version effectively, the official version of what happened.

"It was only when he was back that he then did agree that he had provided such accounts.

"He said he had written the accounts of the shooting by the commander of 1 Para, Derek Wilford, of the commanders of the three companies deployed and of the battalion intelligence officer so he said he wrote those accounts."

 

 

Assessment from Human Rights Group Criticises Saville Report
TOM News 03/11/10

An Assessment of the Saville Report by The International League for Human Rights October 27, 2010

1. This is an assessment of the Saville Tribunal Report on the events of Bloody Sunday, January 30, 1972 in Northern Ireland. This assessment is prepared on behalf of the International League for Human Rights (the “League”).[1]

2. The League, and the attorneys who have served the League by following the work of the Saville Tribunal, have reviewed the Saville Tribunal’s June 15, 2010 Report. In the main, the League agrees with the findings of the Saville Tribunal. The Tribunal deserves great credit and much respect for its efforts. Its Report is comprehensive and honest. Because of that, it is courageous as well given the circumstances. It is not, however, without flaws.

3. The principal findings and conclusions, as to the soldiers, were that soldiers fired on unarmed civilians without justification, killing 13 and seriously wounding another 13. The Report clears the victims themselves and provides the long sought vindication of the claims of the victims’ families and the survivors of the march. But that is only part of the story. Of equal importance is determining the cause of the rampage, and that is largely obscured by the Saville Report.

4. The Report discusses at length the actions of the army’s more senior command, and it concludes that tactical missteps by the Lieutenant Colonel commanding 1 Para (1st Battalion of the Parachute Regiment) were a cause of the casualties. The Report concludes that errors he made in giving the order to execute the army’s plan (the Operation Order) for making arrests that day, rather than the plan itself, were the key mistakes which, together with unjustified shootings by as many as 14 different Paras, resulted in the 26 casualties.

[1] The League is a New York based non-governmental, non-profit organization that became involved in the events of Bloody Sunday at the request of the National Council of Civil Liberties (NCCL) of England. The League has special consultative status at the United Nations, the Council of Europe and the International Labor Organization. Its platform is the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In the immediate aftermath of Bloody Sunday, the Chairman of the League enlisted the aid of Professor Samuel Dash, of the Georgetown University Law Center, and later, the Chief Counsel to the Senate Watergate Committee; Louis Pollack, then Dean of Yale Law School, and later a Federal District Court Judge; and John Carey, then the International League’s president, and later a Justice of the New York Supreme Court. They went to Northern Ireland in the hope that foreign lawyers, acting for an international organization and having no axe to grind, would be able to help in a situation fraught with bitterness and distrust. Their roles included encouraging the families of the victims to cooperate with and actively participate in the Widgery Inquiry, which began shortly after Bloody Sunday and lasted until March 1972. The Widgery Report was submitted on April 10, 1972 and made public on April 18, 1972. Soon afterwards, Professor Dash, assisted by Robert F. Muse, at the request of the League, published a Report (“Justice Denied”) challenging the central findings of Lord Widgery, and labeling it a whitewash.
This assessment of the Saville Report was prepared on behalf of the League by Robert F. Muse of Stein, Mitchell and Muse, Washington, D.C., and by John M. Bray, Jamie A. Lang and Marian Lee of King & Spalding, Washington, D.C.

5. The army had nurtured and encouraged an attitude of intense hostility and distrust toward the entire nationalist community. The senior commanders well knew prior to Bloody Sunday that such hostility and distrust had permeated the ranks of the Paras, and that it was the cause of the excessive violence for which they had justifiably become feared and notorious. The plans for the Scoop up - - the fatal arrest exercise devised to catch terrorists among the marchers - - were the subject of debate and some level of disagreement among the military, and between the military and the RUC (Royal Ulster Constabulary). As the day of the march approached, it was the senior army officers who chose the most aggressive option at each point of their plan for the day. And it was the senior military, rejecting suggestions from some officers and the RUC, who decided to use the Paras for the most aggressive part of their strategy on the day of the march -- the Scoop up by the arrest force. Shortly after 4 p.m., although the rioting was dying down and people were moving away from the barricades, the Scoop up order was given by Lieutenant Colonel Wilford with the approval of Brigadier MacLellan, and the Paras began the planned arrest operation. It was the hostile culture and those aggressive plans that led to the rampage.

6. This was not a single tragedy caused by some tactical mix-up. The misjudgments did not merely lead to one innocent person’s death. This tragedy occurred 26 times in a row; it took 10 minutes of aimed rifle shots; it was not the work of one or two soldiers who panicked. Only innocent victims were shot, and they were shot by at least 14 separate Paras in five separate killing zones, where over 100 shots were fired.

7. In the senior officers’ meetings leading up to Bloody Sunday, the army devised the Operation Order and the plan to use the Paras. Army commanders had long demonized the nationalist population that was to conduct the march. The Paras were led to expect that the marchers would be mingling with gunmen who would take over the march, when in fact the crowd at hand was overwhelmingly composed of civilians participating in a civil rights demonstration. The Paras were very well trained for deadly combat in war, but they were inadequately trained to conduct arrests at a protest march by a crowd of their own citizens. The Paras were also intensely frustrated at months and years of chasing elusive prey who would ambush them and disappear.

8. The faults the Saville Tribunal finds are that Lieutenant Colonel Wilford gave the order to execute the Scoop up without the marchers achieving separation from rioters; that he failed to repeat the injunction against proceeding a significant distance down Rossville Street; that he sent two companies of Paras to arrest rioters when only one had been approved; that he sent one company in vehicles; and that he sent them into an area he told his soldiers was dangerous and where they might come under lethal attack from gunmen, knowing they would respond instantly with gunfire if under attack. The Tribunal essentially stops the blame for the Bloody Sunday shootings at Lieutenant Colonel Wilford and at those soldiers who did the shooting. It does not acknowledge that the mistakes of the senior military officials were actually a cause of the casualties.

9. These deaths and injuries were not merely a product of one commander ineptly carrying out the Operation Order. The plan itself that became the Operation Order, and the misguided thinking that gave rise to this overly aggressive use of military in a domestic protest, is what history must condemn. If all that senior government officials and senior officers of the world’s armies and military academies were to learn from Bloody Sunday was that the military in its home country should merely assure that there is a tidy separation of rioters from civilians before sending forth highly provoked battle ready troops armed with deadly firepower, there will be many more Bloody Sundays and Kent States.

10. The larger constituency of potential victims of future Bloody Sundays deserves a clear statement and a memorable condemnation of the decisions and the attitudes that resulted in the 26 shootings. As important as the Saville Tribunal’s determinations about criminal culpability are, its conclusions about the mistakes and misconduct that were the proximate cause of the rampage are far more important to prevent future civil rights and human rights abuses. In Northern Ireland, human rights abuses had long been the order of the day, tolerated, perpetuated and encouraged in many segments of the military and government power structure, and that climate often infected decision-making. It led to denials of civil rights and to human rights abuses, and then to a crescendo of human casualties on Bloody Sunday.

11. In fact, the rampage and shooting of 26 fleeing, ducking, crawling, unarmed civilians was caused not by some untidy mingling of the rioters and the non-rioting civilians; it was caused by enraged armed troops opening fire on the civilians, indeed only on civilians. They were trained to think those being encountered were most likely terrorists and that a violent putdown of this march was expected by their superiors, had been sanctioned by their superiors, and would be applauded by their superiors. The evidence adduced by the Tribunal and the factual findings by the Tribunal itself provide strong support for this conclusion. Yet the Tribunal declined to draw the connection between the misjudgments in planning and oversight and the casualties, and to acknowledge that the central causes of the tragedy were plans and decisions made by senior commanders.

12. In 1998, Prime Minister Heath acknowledged that, in Northern Ireland there was a demeaning attitude against the Catholic minority in 1972, and that this produced lives of misery and poverty, and “the indignity of being treated as inferior human beings in their own country . . . .” It could hardly be surprising that Paras might one day take matters a deadly step too far when deployed against the citizens who were viewed through such a hostile prism.

13. The reputation of 1 Para as a brutally tough force with a seething antipathy for those referred to as the “Hooligans” was well known to senior army officers when they brushed aside the recommendation of Chief Constable Frank Lagan that the march should be policed by the RUC, not the Paras, and that it should not be blocked by barricades and stopped from reaching its end point at Guildhall Square. It was the senior military who decided that barricades should be erected. They admitted that they understood that rioting would erupt if barricades were used. The Tribunal found that Lieutenant Colonel Wilford had become distressed at what he termed the “horrifying” TV footage of his Paras staying behind barricades like “Aunt Sallies” while daily rioting occurred. The Tribunal found that General Robert Ford Commander of Land Forces in Northern Ireland had also become unhappy with his local commanders. It was the senior military who decided that the march should be policed by the army, and that the Paras should serve as the arrest force and use this protest against internment as a vehicle for increased internment - - as an opportunity to conduct even further arrests by sending heavily armed Paras on this occasion rushing forth from behind the barricades to execute a Scoop-up. A soldier in Support Company testified at the Tribunal that at the evening briefing the night before the event, the Lieutenant who commanded his platoon told the men “we want some kills tomorrow.” That Lieutenant agreed only that he had said there was a risk they would encounter gunmen, and for the Paras to come out on top if they did. The next day, General Ford stood at Barrier 14 as 1 Para charged the marchers, yelling to them: “Go on 1 Para, go and get them and good luck.”

14. Shortly before Bloody Sunday, General Ford had stated his belief in a confidential memorandum to Lieutenant General Sir Harry Tuzo, the General Officer Commanding Northern Ireland, that the only way to stop the “Derry Young Hooligans” was, “after clear warnings, to shoot selected ringleaders.” However, since this belief was not engraved onto the soldiers’ Yellow Card, the Tribunal did not treat General Ford’s attitude as a proven cause of the casualties.

15. Moments after the 26 civilians were shot, General Ford gave an interview to the BBC saying his soldiers were attacked as soon as they were on the other side of the barrier where he had stood. He claimed they were attacked by six nail bombers, a petrol bomber and seven gunmen. He said that 10 to 20 rounds were fired at the Paras before they returned fire. In fact, as the Tribunal has found, none of that had occurred. Moreover, General Ford ultimately admitted that he had not received any precise information supporting any of those claims, except he maintained that he had been told the soldiers were fired at first. General Ford’s statements to the press were soon heard by the soldiers as well as the world, establishing the message used thereafter to justify the killings.

16. A tapped telephone call between two army officers on the evening of Bloody Sunday reflected the same attitude:

Male Voice: “ . . . I think it has gone badly wrong in the Rossville . . . the doctor’s just been up the hospital and they are pulling stiffs out there as fast as they can get them out.
Male Voice: There is nothing wrong with that.
Male Voice: Well there is because they are the wrong people . . . there is about 9 and 15 killed by the Parachute Regiment . . . .
Male Voice: He was lapping it up.
Male Voice: Who was?
Male Voice: Ford.
Male Voice: Was he?
Male Voice: Yeah . . . he said it was the best thing he had seen for a long time.
Male Voice: Interesting, is it not.
Male Voice: Well done 1st Para, he said . . . .
Male Voice: Good, excellent.
Male Voice: He said this is what should happen.”

17. The Tribunal found that in fact there had been no provocation by any victim. But the Tribunal received testimony that as soon as the enormity of the rampage was apparent, the soldiers and others began to discuss concocting lies and corroborating the story that the victims had all fired at or thrown bombs at the soldiers first, and that the soldiers only returned fire after giving Yellow Card warnings. That story was told and repeated throughout the military and delivered to two tribunals by the testimony of many in the army. But, in fact, the soldiers fired first. No victim had a gun. No petrol bombs or nail bombs were thrown or brandished. No provocation had lead to the shootings. Of the 26 victims, several, including the very first victim, were shot in the back or shot while fleeing. Others were shot while crawling away or trying to help the dying. No Yellow Card warnings were given. No soldier could claim even a slight wound from all the fabricated tales of gunmen and nail bombers. The army was faced with awful evidence, and a far ranging cover-up by the military had taken hold. It was not limited to isolated instances of perjury by the shooters. The testimony of many soldiers at the Saville Inquiry was rejected as false. There were at least 7 soldiers whose testimony the Saville Tribunal found was proven to have been knowingly false.

18. The Saville Report fails to fully assess the effect of the cover-up in concealing for all these years the extent of the senior military’s role in producing the casualties. The Tribunal did find that the decision to use the Paras to police the march was a mistake because the Paras had a reputation for excessive violence. It is inexplicable, however, having appreciated it was a mistake, that the Tribunal fails to acknowledge that mistake was a proximate cause of the rampage that did indeed occur. With that failure, we respectfully disagree. More than a mistake without consequence, this part of the plan ran counter to the proper goal of a police function to subdue unruly rioters, not to provoke a more violent eruption. This civil rights march followed close on the heels of a number of prior encounters. Just a week earlier, Paras had clubbed, kicked and dragged demonstrators at Magillagan Strand. Some army officers who were present that day testified to the Tribunal that the Paras did engage in unnecessary violence at Magillagan. Those tactics were caught by TV cameras and news photos. Senior commanders saw those photos and footage. One army colonel called the assistant to General Carver after the Magillian encounter to urge that 1 Para were the wrong soldiers to use as the arrest force. Yet the army’s decision to forge ahead with the plan to use the Paras, a week after widespread reports that they had behaved brutally at Magillagan Strand, and to have them be the arrest force that would charge out from behind barriers with loaded rifles, was a reckless plan, and the senior military command bears a large share of the blame for its decision to do so, and for the consequences.

19. Finally, a few words about the Widgery Report. Quite understandably, the Saville Tribunal made it clear that it would not be sitting as a reviewing court as to Widgery. Instead, it would review the evidence de novo, and come to its own conclusions. The political implications of one Tribunal sitting in judgment of another could only complicate the primary mission of the Saville Inquiry. Indeed, that appropriate restraint by the Saville Tribunal makes it all the more necessary that other groups assess the Widgery Report’s role.

20. In February 1972, Lord Widgery was selected by Prime Minister Heath to lead a Tribunal of Inquiry under the 1922 Act, and he decided that the Tribunal would consist only of himself. His service in, and steadfast alliance with, the army was well known to the Prime Minister. Lord Widgery was selected and brought to meet with Prime Minister Heath by the Lord Chancellor, Lord Hailsham. Lord Hailsham’s attitudes were well documented. He had stated a belief that anyone opposing or interfering with the army in Northern Ireland should be shot, whether or not armed or shooting. Together the three discussed what the Tribunal would do, how the army might be allowed to tell its story, and the importance of soldiers being protected from terrorist reprisals. Prime Minister Heath admitted that he told Lord Widgery: “It had to be remembered that we were in Northern Ireland fighting not only a military war but a propaganda war.” Asked to articulate the purpose for such an exertion of command influence upon the judge of the matter, the Prime Minister explained that he merely said this to Lord Widgery because “it was polite to remind him.”

21. In April 1972, Lord Widgery issued his Report and bestowed benign approval on these unprovoked killings as though each casualty had been an unrelated event. He concluded that the worst that happened was that some shootings bordered on reckless.

22. The question might fairly be asked whether Lord Widgery was merely a victim of the cover-up and was unwittingly deceived by the testimony now found to have been a festival of perjury. His duty, like the duty of any tribunal was to evaluate the evidence presented, employ common sense, correctly apply time-honored standards traditionally used to evaluate evidence, and then reach honest conclusions. The process used by other tribunals called upon to evaluate evidence includes assessing human motives and acknowledging that testimony is often shaped by the instinct for self-preservation and the impulse to explain away mistakes. Lord Widgery accepted the testimony of the implicated soldiers for every one of the shootings. The same excuses were used 26 times. He abandoned the tenets of decision-making, and instead, he accepted the transparently false testimony of the implicated soldiers in the face of contrary physical and circumstantial evidence.

23. By any standard, Lord Widgery failed the system in this most important obligation. He voiced no serious skepticism that no soldier was wounded by all the fabricated gun fire or the wild fragmentation a nail bomb would have produced, or that no one but a few soldiers reported petrol or nail bomb explosions. He strained to award soldiers the benefit of doubt where none was called for. At every turn, he awarded the benefit of doubt only to the army. He ignored or mischaracterized the credible testimony of eyewitnesses. He did the same with the forensic evidence, turning a blind eye to irrefutable physical evidence. He failed to acknowledge the contrast between the physical evidence that portrayed shootings of fleeing and crawling victims, and the very different stories of threats, bombs, and guns told by the implicated soldiers.

24. As to provocation, Lord Widgery accepted the soldiers’ excuses for the telltale absence of evidence of the bombs and weapons. He accepted the soldiers’ repeated claims that, while under fire from soldiers, some random civilian would always step into the line of fire, in easy range of firing Paras, would pick up the weapon or fizzing bomb allegedly dropped by each of the victims, would elude the Paras’ fire, and, over and over again, would escape with the weapon. Lord Widgery credited such testimony every time. He did so sitting as the sole judge, under circumstances where there was no review of his conclusions, nor any checks on his decision-making. Lord Widgery found, accordingly, that the shootings were provoked by assailants and at least an apprehension of imminent threats of deadly weapons. Since he concluded that the actions of the soldiers were without fault, he ruled as though nothing else in the decisions of the army or the government was improper. The British government accepted the Widgery Report and treated the matter as concluded.

25. The League evaluated the Widgery Report in 1972. It concluded then, and it reaffirms now even more forcefully, that the Widgery Report was a shameful whitewash. Far from an innocent victim of the lies and cover-up, he became their champion. His Report helped bring on the ensuing decades of bloodshed. Lord Widgery’s Report sent a message that the rule of law had no application to sectarian matters in Northern Ireland, for if the Lord Chief Justice would make a mockery of such an event, what hope was there for change through legal processes? It was a clear and taunting message that the goal of civil rights in Northern Ireland could not be reached through the halls of justice. To a grieving desperate people, the Widgery Report was the final evidence of hopelessness.

26. While it was apparent in 1972 how biased and misleading the Widgery Report was, evidence revealed publicly since then by soldiers coming forward and by the Saville Tribunal Inquiry, has confirmed all the criticism and skepticism of observers in Northern Ireland and around the globe as to the bona fides of the Widgery Report.

27. In sharp contrast to Lord Widgery, Lord Saville was joined by Former Chief Justice of New Brunswick, William L. Hoyt, and Former Justice of the High Court of Australia, John L. Toohey. All three are experienced, learned officials. They joined in a three-person Tribunal which found that the actions of several of the soldiers in shooting the victims were reprehensible; and that the soldiers and others concealed the facts that showed the shootings were all unjustified. But it is not enough to say, as Prime Minister Cameron did, that by the Saville Report, Lord Widgery’s findings have been laid aside. Much more than that, the Saville Report stands as a de facto condemnation of an appalling injustice by the Widgery Tribunal.

28. The killings, the cover-up, the obstruction of the investigation, and the perjury are surely important for prosecutors to review. The misjudgements and poor decisions of superiors that together were the driving causes of all this are, for the most part, likely not criminal violations of any extant law of the day. The world can live with that. However, the cause of human rights cannot move forward without calling out with a clear voice what really went wrong so that such a rampage is never repeated by any authority willing to learn from Bloody Sunday.

29. The International League for Human Rights pays tribute to all who brought the Saville Tribunal to life and to all those who persisted against constant opposition to unearth the truth and remove the cloud of the Widgery Report from the annals of British justice.

 

 

Shock resignation of Bloody Sunday committee members
Derry Journal 13/01/11

Three members of the ‘Bloody Sunday Weekend Committee’ are to step down from their roles after twenty years, citing “political differences” in how forthcoming commemorations are to be held.

In a letter published in today’s ‘Derry Journal’, longstanding members Jim Keys, Stephen Gargan and Jim Collins announced their decision to step down amid controversy surrounding the tone of the forthcoming commemoration march. Many now feel locally that the commemoration should reflect the positive outcome of the Saville Report. However, the trio disagree, claiming that the British military seem to have “got off scot free.”

The letter reads: “While we all agreed that Lord Saville’s conclusions coupled with the British Prime Minister’s apology on June 15th represented a remarkable and unprecedented achievement for the families, the wounded, and the wider campaign, we three could not in all conscience support the characterisation of that day as a victory.”

The trio blame a “deepening divergence of positions” within the committee and said that recent news that this month’s Bloody Sunday commemoration march was to be the last reinforced their collective decision. “It’s with great regret that we made this decision,” Stephen Gargan told the ‘Journal’ last night.

“Some members of the committee feel that the Saville Report was a great triumph and they wanted to characterise the forthcoming commemorations in those terms. While we acknowledge the remarkable nature of June 15, we couldn’t sign up for the fact that Saville’s Report is deemed a victory. Especially considering the British military have got off scot free.”

No-one at the Bloody Sunday Weekend Committee was available for comment.

 

 

39th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday Commemoration Events
TOM News 28/01/11

The truth has been brought home at last

The victims’ families and those wounded on Bloody Sunday have said that this Sunday, 30th January 2011, will see the final Bloody Sunday commemoration march take place in Derry, tracing the route of the original 1972 civil rights march for one last time and have today released the following press statement:

“The 39th anniversary of Bloody Sunday takes place in an unprecedented atmosphere of celebration marking the successful culmination of a long and arduous campaign for truth and justice. Against all the odds, ordinary people have wrested an outstanding moral and legal victory over a state that murdered peaceful protestors and then told the world lies about them.

“No more will the lies of the British establishment, or the whitewash of Widgery, be repeated to excuse the actions of the British Army on the streets of Derry on the 30th January 1972. What we have always known has been acknowledged and recognised: Bloody Sunday was unjustified and unjustifiable.

“From the lips of the British Prime Minister, the truth has been acknowledged. All those murdered and wounded on Bloody Sunday were innocent. We have always known that. Now the world does as well. All the victims of Bloody Sunday have been exonerated. Their relatives, friends and supporters across the world have been vindicated.

“For the first time in British legal history an official inquiry, Widgery, has been consigned to the legal dustbin. The Saville Report however is far from perfect. It carries a number of serious flaws and has been accurately described as heavy on innocence and light on guilt. Its treatment of Gerald Donaghey is simply incomprehensible.

“The Report stops short of placing blame for the atrocity at the middle and higher echelons of the British army and the then British Government. But its core message is inescapable and unavoidable: innocence has been proven and accepted. The truth has been acknowledged.

“The families and their supporters stood vindicated on the steps of the Guildhall on June 15th 2010. Finally, the lies and whitewash were exposed and the truth shone free. In the words of one campaigner, “We have moved a mountain!”

“The complete turnaround of the Bloody Sunday story, from darkness into light, will serve as a beacon of hope and inspiration for many other families at home and throughout the world who are currently struggling for truth and justice.

“The parallels between Bloody Sunday and the Ballymurphy Massacre are manifest. The people of Gaza, among the most beleaguered and demonised in the world, were the first to send congratulations to the people of Derry on 15th June. Just as the jubilant release of the Guildford Four and the Birmingham Six in 1989 and 1991 gave inspiration to the Bloody Sunday Justice Campaign, oppressed people everywhere will take heart from the ground-breaking culmination of that campaign less than seven months ago.

“Derry’s stubborn refusal to accept the state’s lies gave rise to the most remarkable justice campaign in modern Irish history, a campaign that reached a climax on the 15th June 2010, amid joyous and emotional scenes in Derry’s Guildhall Square.

“Derided and sneered at for years; told by defeatists to give up any hope of reaching success; the dark and difficult days of campaigning were at last vindicated, when the Bloody Sunday families and wounded announced to a waiting world:

““The great lie has been laid bare. The Truth has been brought home at last.”

 

 

Thousands attend last Bloody Sunday march
UTV News 30/01/10

Thousands of people have been taking part in what could be the last ever Bloody Sunday march in Londonderry - and the biggest in years - on the 39th anniversary of the shootings.

But the event, which is the first march to be held after Lord Saville's report into the 1972 killings of 14 civilians by British soldiers, has proved a divisive issue for the families of the victims.

The majority of relatives feel the time is right to put an end to the annual march.

John Kelly, whose brother died on Bloody Sunday told UTV: "The march has gone on for 39 years. The march was a tool to achieve a vindication for our people - and people are tired, we're getting old.

"Going up and down the hills is getting harder all the time, so I think people are happy to see this as the last march."

But Kate Nash, who also had a brother killed, doesn't agree. She and her family broke off from the main parade and walked on alone.

"Sinn Féin runs the march, so obviously it's Sinn Féin who are stopping the march - I don't know the reasons for that, so I can't answer that question," she said.

"The only people it would serve is the British Government because it's an annual reminder of the atrocities they committed in Ireland."

But Sinn Féin's Martin McGuinness, who attended the march, said Bloody Sunday would be remembered in other ways.

The deputy First Minister told UTV: "There are many ways to commemorate those who died on Bloody Sunday and I think that's what the people of this city will set about in a very short while."

Sunday's anniversary proceedings began with a religious service. In a highly symbolic move, it was attended by ministers from local Protestant churches.

"The symbolism of this is momentous and I'm hoping the ripples will spread out so that more people in my community will feel confident to join with their Catholic neighbours," Rev David Latimer said.

The march followed the planned route of the original civil rights demonstration - from the Creggan shops to Guildhall Square - on which soldiers opened fire.

The decision to make this march the last was announced in a statement signed by the majority of victims' families - but it was met with anger by some people who believe it's too premature, especially given that next year marks 40 years since the atrocity.

On 15 June 2010, the publication of the Saville Report marked the end of a long-running campaign for truth and justice by the Bloody Sunday families.

It cleared those killed of any wrong-doing, leading to a public apology by Prime Minister David Cameron.

Earlier this month, organisers of the event told UTV the march would be held as a thank you to supporters.

Future anniversaries will be commemorated in the form of an annual gathering at the Bloody Sunday memorial, which will start at 4.08pm, the time the killings began.

 

 

Bloody Sunday family reject payout
Belfast Telegraph 22/09/11

Relatives of one of the Bloody Sunday victims have firmly rejected any offer of Government compensation.

Sisters Linda and Kate Nash, whose teenage brother William was among 14 men who died after paratroopers opened fire on civil rights protesters in Londonderry in January 1972, said: "I find it repulsive."

The Ministry of Defence has confirmed that moves are under way to compensate the families following representation from solicitors acting on behalf of some of the relatives.

The Nash sisters said they would not take money for personal financial gain: "Not under any circumstances will I ever accept money for the loss of my brother.

"I find it repulsive, taking anything from the MoD. If the MoD wants to set up bursaries they can, but not in my brother's name," Ms Nash said.

Prime Minister David Cameron has already apologised to victims and said the shootings were wrong.

An MOD spokesman said: "We acknowledge the pain felt by these families for nearly 40 years, and that members of the armed forces acted wrongly. For that, the Government is deeply sorry. We are in contact with the families' solicitors and where there is a legal liability to pay compensation, we will do so."

Lord Saville drew up a landmark report last year which criticised the Army over the killings. His panel ruled that the Army fired first and without provocation. It found that all 14 who died and the others who were injured almost four decades ago were unarmed and completely innocent.

The MoD's move followed a letter sent to the Prime Minister by solicitors for the families, asking what he was going to do about Bloody Sunday. He described the killings as unjustified and unjustifiable.

Defining who would be eligible for compensation could be complicated as many immediate family members are already dead. Relatives received a small payment worth a few hundred pounds from the MOD, without admitting liability, shortly after the event.

 

 

Bloody Sunday probe could take years
UTV News 05/07/12

A murder inquiry into the Bloody Sunday killings could take years and divert resources from other areas, the Chief Constable has warned.

As part of the Saville Inquiry, papers were passed to the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) last November. The PPS told the police they felt there were grounds for prosecution and a full criminal inquiry should follow.

The Saville Inquiry report, published in 2010, found civil rights demonstrators shot dead by British soldiers in Londonderry in 1972 were innocent.

It is expected that the fresh investigation into the event, which left 13 dead and 26 injured, would take 30 detectives four years to complete.

Speaking at a Policing Board meeting on Thursday, Matt Baggott confirmed a police probe would take place.

"I do not think anywhere else in the world is facing the challenges of organised crime, paramilitary activity ... alongside having to deal with 30 years of misery in such a way," he said.

The Saville Inquiry took 12 years and cost nearly £200 million, and although Mr Baggott did not give a figure, the police investigation is expected to run up a huge bill.

"This will be, and is already, a very long resource intensive investigation which does have implications looking forward to how we are going to be able to sustain this," he said.

"If we prioritise this particular work, and I know how incredibly important this is to people - particularly victims - what are the consequences in relation to protecting and keeping people safe in 2012, 13, 14, 15?

"Because I can't ask the people doing this to take on a whole raft of other tasks which may be incredibly serious by themselves."

Legacy issues cost around £12.5m per year through the Historical Enquiries Team and UTV's Political Editor Ken Reid said the PSNI were coming back to the Policing Board to explain the financial implications of the new investigation.

"They are dealing with events that happened many years ago and many of the people involved are now dead," added Ken.

The PSNI has consulted prosecution lawyers and said it will conduct the investigation to the highest standards.

But Sinn Féin's Gerry Kelly, who sits on the Policing Board, said the lack of police resources is "worrying".

"We need to move it forward and I'm worried that we won't move it forward at the pace which is necessary.

"The question that I want answered is when will they move this ahead, and saying that they aren't ready to move it ahead I think will be very worrying for everybody."

"This is a huge issue for the families. People have waited a long time for justice," he added.

 

 

No reason to delay inquiry
Morning Star 06/07/12

Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson's demand that any police inquiry into the Bloody Sunday army massacre in Derry must include investigation of his deputy Martin McGuinness's role is par for the course.

Robinson could be expected to do nothing else in order to retain the support of his electorate and of his Democratic Unionist Party.

This realisation could explain McGuinness's calm reaction to the demand, together with his knowledge that the unionist establishment is engaged in laying down a smokescreen to cover up the real issues.

Those opposed to a police probe of the criminal activities of the British army have seized upon part of Lord Saville's inquiry report which found that McGuinness had been in Derry on the day of the slaughter, "probably armed with a machinegun."

McGuinness accepts being on the streets of the city where he lived but denies carrying a firearm.

Even if he were lying through his teeth about being armed it would be irrelevant - since the whole world knows now that, despite lies spread at the time by the military, British government and media, soldiers did not come under fire from the IRA on that day.

The 14 Irish Catholics done to death were unarmed and met their end as the result of members of the Parachute Regiment shooting them down without justification.

Saville also took apart the tissue of lies confected by the British military, political and media elite and demolished the absurd apology for an inquiry cobbled together by Lord Chief Justice John Widgery.

Even David Cameron has had to accept that the Bloody Sunday killings were "unjustified and unjustifiable."

That being so, natural justice demands that the perpetrators of this heinous crime should face trial, but this is resisted by those in Northern Ireland with a vested interest in preventing a belated resolution of this matter.

It does not augur well for a speedy and successful procedure that the Northern Ireland Police Service is already suggesting that it could take a further four years - 40 years after the murders took place - before it is in a position to complete its investigation.

The police will require co-operation from the military, which already has form in welcoming back into its ranks - and subsequently promoting - the tiny number of soldiers found guilty of shooting civilians dead.

Similar co-operation will be needed from the British government and all its agencies to prevent a repeat, as Sinn Fein justice spokesman Raymond McCartney put it, of the "interference, prevarication and destroying of evidence that we witnessed during the Saville Inquiry."

It is clear that there remains resistance within the police to investigating Bloody Sunday, despite Northern Ireland Police Federation chairman Terry Spence's insistence that his organisation has always supported prosecution of police and soldiers if evidence is available.

Using the deaths of police officers killed by the IRA or the more recent murder of Constable Ronan Kerr by republican splinter groups in Omagh last year as bargaining counters against a Bloody Sunday investigation is unacceptable.

IRA members and other paramilitaries were arrested and prosecuted on a regular basis throughout the armed conflict for attacks on the security forces.

Their deeds were not systematically covered up by the authorities and justice denied to the families of the victims.

That is what causes Bloody Sunday to stand out and makes the police investigation a priority.

 

 

British MoD appeal for paras to come forward
TOM News 08/01/13

A prominent Bloody Sunday campaigner in Derry has welcomed news that the British Ministry of Defence has appealed to former paratroopers to volunteer their names and addresses to the PSNI involved in the new Bloody Sunday murder investigation.

“This is what it has all been about,” says Mickey McKinney, whose brother Willie was one of thirteen men and boys murdered during a civil rights march on January 30, 1972.

“The fact that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) are taking this investigation seriously and calling for paras to come forward has to be welcomed, of course,” he says. “This is now a murder investigation and the paras - regardless of age - will be required by the law to co-operate.”

“We in Derry always knew that our people were innocent, and it is only right now that those who committed the crimes of murder on our streets will be brought to book for them.”

News of the British MoD appeal came to light over the weekend. It is understood that a letter from Caron Tassel, directorate of judicial engagement policy at the MoD, is being sent to regimental associations asking for those involved in Bloody Sunday to contact the MoD.

The letter has been sanctioned by the Parachute Regiment’s Colonel Commandant, Lieutenant General Jacko Page, and contains the warning: “We feel it is only fair to let witnesses know that we may be required to disclose those details to the police at some stage.”

A British newspaper also quoted responses of several former paratroopers who served on Bloody Sunday, with one former soldier insisting: “The authorities will not be getting my address and that is for sure”, while another added: “The Ministry of Defence is clearly not in a position to guarantee our anonymity so many will be reluctant to co-operate, making the police inquiry something of a farce.”

 

 

Bloody Sunday family will not rest until Gerald’s name is cleared
Derry Journal 24/01/13

It was her mother’s dying wish that Bloody Sunday victim Gerald Donaghey’s reputation be restored and the slur of nail-bombs removed forever – and today Geraldine Doherty took her campaign to the very heart of the European Parliament.

Geraldine, niece of Gerald Donaghey, headed a delegation of relatives, wounded and fellow campaigners who were invited to the EU Parliament in Brussels to state their case as guests of Derry’s Sinn Fein MEP Martina Anderson.

In an emotional address, Geraldine spoke of the personal anguish still felt over her uncle’s case and her late mother’s dying wish to see him fully exonerated. “I will not rest until he is cleared,” she said. “We were left with half-a-declaration of innocence while my mother was dealing with her own fight with cancer. She died a few months later having given up her fight.”

While declared innocent alongside the 27 others murdered and wounded by British paratroopers on January 30, 1972, Gerald Donaghey had, in fact, suffered a double injustice. He was the only victim of Bloody Sunday left with a stain upon his reputation as Lord Saville declared that the teen “probably” had nail-bombs on his person throughout. It is a claim refuted for decades by both civilian and military eyewitnesses.

Several influential MEPs attended the presentation and gladly accepted copies of the recent report ‘Gerald Donaghey: The Truth about the Planting of Nail-Bombs on Bloody Sunday’ for further perusal.

Supporting Geraldine in parliament were local woman Alana Burke, who was seriously wounded on Bloody Sunday, campaigner John Kelly, brother of victim Michael Kelly, and Margaret Nash, sister-in-law of victim William Nash. Also making the trip were Leo Young, brother of victim John Young and Raymond Rogan – the two last people to see young Donaghey alive. Their emotional contributions not only illuminated the reality of Gerald’s harrowing last moments, but highlighted the disturbing inconsistencies in the British Army’s nail-bomb theory.

Raymond Rogan owned the house that the wounded Donaghey was carried into on Bloody Sunday and later drove the wounded teen to hospital in his car alongside Leo Young.

“It’s important to know that when Gerald Donaghey was carried onto my house, the house was full of people trying to hide from the shooting and my children were in the house too. Do you really think I would bring someone with nail-bombs in their pockets into my home where my children were?”

 

 

Bloody Sunday families offered £50,000 compensation
News Letter 14/02/13

The families of 13 people killed by soldiers in Northern Ireland on Bloody Sunday have been offered £50,000 each in compensation.

Paratroopers opened fire on innocent civil rights marchers in Londonderry in 1972.

Thirteen others seriously injured have also been offered £50,000 each as part of a total compensation package from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) worth around £1.3 million.

Kate Nash, whose brother William was killed and father Alex injured, said: “My brother cannot be replaced and all the money in the world won’t bring him back.”

A solicitor for one of the families said the offer was derisory and an insult to those killed.

There have been months of discussion between lawyers for the MoD and the families’ legal teams.

Her father, Alexander Nash, saw his son William, 19, being shot by members of the Parachute Regiment in the Bogside area on Bloody Sunday on 30 January 1972 and went to help him. He was then shot and wounded himself.

Ms Nash said she was simply interested in accountability and not money.

“I became slightly outraged at that. How do they pick out the seriously injured? My father recovered, he was shot through the arm and the side. My father was in a bunker watching his son die.

“How in terms of compensation could you ever make up for that?”

She added: “My father was not just physically seriously injured, he was mentally seriously injured.”

He died in January 1999.

The Saville Report into Bloody Sunday was published in June 2010, prompting Prime Minister David Cameron to apologise to the families and describe the killings as “unjustified and unjustifiable”.

The massive document, which took 12 years to complete at a cost of £195 million, was heavily critical of the Army and found that soldiers killed people without justification.

The report concluded that none of the victims were armed, that soldiers gave no warnings before opening fire and that the shootings were a “catastrophe” for Northern Ireland, leading to increased violence in subsequent years.

Police in Northern Ireland last year said they will launch a major investigation into the deaths.

The experience of the Bloody Sunday families will be closely watched by campaigners for justice for other atrocities.

Traditional Unionist Voice leader Jim Allister expressed outrage at the proposed compensation.

“After the millions already spent on inquires and investigations into Bloody Sunday, this is another handout from the British taxpayer,” he said.

“A multitude of victims have never had a single penny spent on any inquiry investigating the murder of their loved ones, much less a cheque for £50,000.”

 

 

Compensation offer a 'distraction'
TOM News 15/02/13

The sister of a teenager murdered in Derry on Bloody Sunday has described the offer of £50,000 compensation as a 'distraction'.

Kate Nash's brother William was shot dead on Bloody Sunday.

She said the compensation offer was a stalling tactic by the British Ministry of Defence and that the families want prosecutions of the soldiers responsible for the murders.

"To me that is more important, I am not interested in money," she said.

"It is a distraction from the real issue which is ending impunity and getting the soldiers to court.

"We also have an ongoing police investigation and I don't know how that is progressing but I will be finding out very soon.

"I am not remotely interested in money, not now, and even after prosecutions, we are not interested in money."

 

 

Bloody Sunday families angered by Para chief’s inclusion in Guildhall exhibition
Éirígí 19/06/13

A number of those whose family members were murdered on Bloody Sunday, or who were themselves the victims of attempted murder by British armed forces on that day, have expressed anger and distress over the content of a video installation in the refurbished Guildhall building in Derry. The Guildhall is the Derry city council headquarters.

The video is part of an exhibition within an ‘interpretative area’ in the Guildhall and it includes a contribution from the British Army general, Michael Jackson.

Jackson, who was on duty in Derry on Bloody Sunday, states in the video that “the vast majority of the some 250,000 soldiers who were there (in the Six Counties) behaved admirably, often in the face of severe provocation”.

Jackson is the man who organised and orchestrated the original cover-up of the Bloody Sunday killings.

It was his so-called “shot-list” which was sent out around the world within hours of the massacre to libel the dead and wounded and to exonerate the killers of the Parachute Regiment.

In a statement released on Sunday 16th June, nine relatives and survivors of Bloody Sunday have called for the removal of the Jackson video.

The relatives and survivors stated: “The Jackson cover-up was maintained by the British Government and the British Army for decades.

“We fought a long campaign to force the British authorities to admit the innocence of the victims of Bloody Sunday, a repudiation of the Widgery Tribunal and the prosecution of those responsible of the murder and attempted murder of the victims of Bloody Sunday.

“As a result of our campaign the British Government established ‘The Bloody Sunday Inquiry’.

“The results of that inquiry met some of the demands of the families.

“The evidence to the Inquiry also exposed the Jackson cover-up as a tissue of lies.

“We find it incredible that Jackson is now presented in Derry Guildhall as an honourable man in what is supposed to be a tribute to the dead and wounded.

“We do not know who is responsible for this travesty or who sanctioned it, but we want the reference to Jackson removed without delay.”

The statement by the relatives and survivors continued: “We also wish to express our concern at the references to the Bloody Sunday Inquiry as ‘The Saville Inquiry’.

“This shifts the focus away from the massacre in Rossville Street to the Inquiry into the massacre.

“The effect is to present British role as benign – as far from the truth as it would be possible to get.

“We would like to know who designed this memorial and decided what would be included. Certainly, we were not involved.

“Members of the families are also angry that no mention is made of the shadow left by The Bloody Sunday Inquiry on the memory of Gerard Donaghy – found, in contradiction of the overwhelming evidence, to have probably been carrying a nail bomb when shot down.

“We cannot put the Bloody Sunday killings behind us until all the Bloody Sunday dead are vindicated.

“The Guildhall must acknowledge the fact that the search for the full truth of Bloody Sunday continues.”

 

 

 

Bloody Sunday probe 'excuse' claim
Belfast Telegraph 27/06/13

A police investigation into the British Army's shooting dead of 13 civil rights protesters in Northern Ireland is being used as an excuse to stop inquiries into other unresolved murders, campaigners claimed.

Twelve external investigators could be diverted from an independent historical inquiries team tasked with reviewing all unsolved murders to probe the Bloody Sunday killings in Londonderry in 1972, it was alleged.

Bloody Sunday is among the most infamous of state killings during Northern Ireland's 30-year conflict. But human rights campaigners said any Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) decision to move detectives from other cold case reviews risked setting the families of victims against each other in a competition for resources.

The Bloody Sunday Trust said: "For the chief constable and his advisers to use the families of Bloody Sunday as an excuse to stop other investigations, can only increase the pain and hurt of other families seeking truth and justice in respect of their loved ones killed and injured in the conflict."

Recently the PSNI pledged to reopen inquiries into Bloody Sunday but Chief Constable Matt Baggott told Northern Ireland's Policing Board he did not have the resources to do so immediately. It followed a review by prosecutors for new leads after a lengthy public inquiry headed by Lord Saville reported the killings were unjustified and the victims innocent.

Police have said a senior investigating officer has been appointed to lead an investigation team into the events of 30 January 1972 in Derry.

"Preliminary work has begun into what will be a lengthy and complex investigation. The allocation of the precise resources at the SIO's disposal is still being determined," a PSNI spokeswoman added.

The investigation could dwarf others into thousands of unresolved killings by republicans, loyalists and the state.

A separate Historical Enquiries Team (HET) including detectives from outside Northern Ireland has been reviewing the evidence in many of those cases and the Pat Finucane Centre victims' group claimed the decision had been taken to move 12 external investigators from the HET to the PSNI investigation into Bloody Sunday.

Pat Finucane Centre spokesman Paul O'Connor alleged the HET's investigations were being put on hold. He said: "The PFC fully supports the Bloody Sunday families in their quest for justice... Is the intention to sow the seeds of division among families, especially those left behind and ultimately damage any prospect of historic investigations?"

 

 

 

HET veterans on Bloody Sunday case - are they serious?
Derry Journal 10/07/13

By Eamonn McCann

The crisis of credibility engulfing the Historical Enquiries Team (HET) has implications, too, for the PSNI investigation into Bloody Sunday.

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) last week found that the HET had been half-hearted when probing killings by soldiers, but resolute in pursuit of paramilitaries. A few days earlier, the PSNI had announced that a dozen officers from the HET were being transferred to the Bloody Sunday investigation.

How can officers coming from the now-tainted HET inspire confidence that they will be rigorous in investigating the most ?controversial killings by soldiers in the history of ?the conflict?

The problem goes deeper. At a meeting a few weeks ago between relatives and senior PSNI officers, including Deputy Chief Constable Judith Gillespie and ?Assistant Chief Constable Drew Harris, the police estimated that their ?inquiry would take up to ?four years.

Why? After all, the PSNI has a head-start on this one.

At the inquiry under Lord Saville, Soldier F was told that the evidence suggested that he had shot four men “without justification” - Michael Kelly, William McKinney, Patrick Doherty and Barney McGuigan.

Saville’s lead QC Christopher Clarke told Soldier P that he and Soldier J were the “only candidates” for the shooting of Michael McDaid, William Nash, John Young and ?Hugh Gilmour.

Clarke warned Soldier K that his own account of the killing of Kevin McElhinney amounted to a confession to murder.

The tribunal determined that Soldier G had shot Gerry Donaghey without justification, the fatal bullet having first passed through Gerard McKinney; that Jackie Duddy was unarmed when shot in the back, probably by Soldier R; that James Wray had been shot by Soldier E, F, G or H, and then shot again as he lay mortally wounded; that John Johnstone had been posing no threat when shot by either Soldier A or Soldier B.

There’s the list of prime suspects publicly identified. Their names and addresses will be known to the MoD. What’s to stop the PSNI team inviting them to come down to the station and answer a few questions? Like, now. Isn’t that how any police force anywhere would proceed in these circumstances?

PSNI chiefs respond that a suspect, once arrested, cannot be arrested a second time, so arrests now could damage the investigation. This is plain nonsense. Suspects are commonly arrested, released, re-arrested. The phrase “released pending further inquiries” has become a cliché.

Now we are told that officers carrying out the new investigation will be veterans of the HET. The question which arises for Matt Baggot ?and his force is: Are you people serious?

 

 

 

Bloody Sunday revisited
Irish Republican News 31/01/14

Despite the report of the Saville Inquiry in 2010, Eamonn McCann doesn’t believe that the British have told the whole truth about Bloody Sunday

The publication of the report of the Bloody Sunday Inquiry sparked an explosion of joy in Derry. The sea of shining faces gathered in Guildhall Square on 15 June 2010 could have lit up a continent. This, at last, was the acknowledgement of the innocence of the victims of the massacre that their families had pursued for almost four decades, and it was sufficient unto the day.

Viewed solely in that perspective, the positive verdict can, for the most part, still stand. With a single exception, the innocence of all of those struck down was unambiguously conceded. True, the finding by the Tribunal under Lord Saville that Gerry Donaghey had more likely than not been carrying nail bombs at the time he was killed cast a shadow on proceedings and has vigorously been challenged by the families, in sections of the local media and in a stage presentation. But, on balance, the exoneration of all the other victims still represented a tremendous victory.

However, the most glaring and serious flaw in the report had to do with the way Saville and his colleagues ignored or appeared to manipulate evidence in order to let the British ruling class off the hook. The report was rightly unequivocal in declaring the guilt of the men who pulled the triggers and one of their officers. But it gave Britain’s military and political leaders a clean bill of health which the evidence had shown they didn’t deserve.

In this respect, the Bloody Sunday Report followed traditional lines - blame those at the bottom, protect those at the top. It was this which allowed David Cameron to welcome the report while declaring that the reputation of the British army itself remained unsullied - the “rotten apple” theory in action. The evidence had shown that the apple-barrel was rotten to the core.

Cameron would have found it difficult to use such forthright language - the killings “unjustified and unjustifiable” - had those named for involvement in the crime included Major General Robert Ford, Commander of Land Forces, Northern Ireland, at the time, and future Chief of the General Staff Michael Jackson, adjutant on the day to the commander of the unit which carried out the killings, the First Battalion of the Parachute Regiment.

He would have found it impossible to exculpate the military and political elite generally if Saville had dealt properly with evidence suggesting the involvement of senior soldiers and politicians in London in sanctioning the plan which was to lead to the killings and commissioning a cover-up afterwards.

Saville’s case against the soldiers who fired the shots was that they had targeted unarmed people posing no possible threat to them or to others. His iondictment of the commander of 1 Para, Lt. Col. Derek Wilford, was based on findings that he breached orders by sending his men into the Bogside to arrest rioters despite the fact that the youths concerned were mingled into a much larger number of peaceful civil rights marchers; by sending in two companies of paras when the operational plan had authorised only one; by sending in one of the companies in armoured personnel carriers rather than, as ordered, on foot; and by allowing “a running battle down Rossville Street” to develop, whereas orders had been specific that the paras were not to go deeply into the area. According to Saville, these acts on indiscipline and derelictions of duty provided as full an account of the reasons for Bloody Sunday as it was possible to assemble from the evidence.

The implication was that Bloody Sunday held few lessons, none of them profound, for the conduct of State forces. Cameron didn’t have to announce any changes in policy or practice. If a bunch of squaddies and one rogue officer had to shoulder all the blame, no criticism could attach to higher authority or to the British Army as a whole or to the Parachute Regiment as an entity.

But there was more to Bloody Sunday than Saville allowed and deeper and politically more disturbing lessons to be learnt.

It was Ford, at the time second in seniority in the North only to the General Officer Commanding, General Harry Tuzo, who commissioned the Bloody Sunday battle plan, Operation Forecast, and arranged with the army’s Belfast commander, Brigadier Frank Kitson, that 1 Para would be sent to Derry for the day to put the plan into action.

In the weeks leading up to Bloody Sunday, Ford had made plain his frustration at the failure of Derry-based regiments to bring the Bogside no-go area to heel. In a document published by the Inquiry dated January 7th 1972, he declared himself “disturbed” by what he regarded as the soft attitude of army and police chiefs in Derry to the Bogside, 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).”

Six days before Bloody Sunday, Ford overruled objections to the proposed use of the paras by Derry commander Brigadier Pat MacLellan and local police chief Frank Lagan. He remained firm as other senior Derry-based officers expressed similar alarm.

Two days before Bloody Sunday, the commander of the Derry-based Royal Green Jackets, Col. Peter Welch, protested to MacLellan about Ford’s plan, and, when rebuffed, said that he might take his protest to HQ Northern Ireland in Lisburn. He said is his statement that he was advised by MacLellan that this would be a pointless exercise, that the decision had been taken “at the highest level.” He said that he understood this to mean at Government level.

Welch ‘phoned an old friend from military college, Col. David Ramsbotham, chief adviser to the Chief of the General Staff, General Michael Carver, asking him to alert Carver to what he saw as the dangers of Ford’s plan. Carver was due to attend a cabinet meeting the same day.

Whether or not Carver passed these concerns to ministers, the only decision of the cabinet meeting was to note and implicitly at least to endorse Operation Forecast. The highest military and political authorities in Britain were thus aware that paratroopers were set to go into the Bogside on Sunday and knew or had every opportunity to know that officers on the spot were concerned about the possible consequences.

On the day, although with no operational role, Ford travelled to Derry where, much the most senior officer present, he took up position at the edge of the Bogside, shouting “Go on the paras!” as they charged through a barbed-wire barricade towards what was shortly to become the killing ground of Rossville Street.

The possibility that Ford’s decisions in advance and comportment on the day might have played some part in the way matters developed is dismissed by Saville: Ford “neither knew nor had reason to know at any stage that his decision would or was likely to result in soldiers firing unjustifiably on that day.”

In the same chapter, Saville insulates political and military leaders from blame: “It was also submitted that in dealing with the security situation in Northern Ireland generally, the authorities (the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland Governments and the Army) tolerated if not encouraged the use of unjustified lethal force; and that this was the cause or a contributory cause of what happened on Bloody Sunday. We found no evidence of such toleration or encouragement.”

This finding is so much at variance with the evidence that it is difficult to accept that it was innocently made.

Numerous incidents over the previous year suggested toleration if not encouragement of unjustified lethal force, specifically by 1 Para. The most egregious had happened just six months before Bloody Sunday when men of the battalion killed 11 unarmed civilians over three days in Ballymurphy in west Belfast. Newspapers of the period, particularly Nationalist newspapers, were carrying regular complaints and editorial condemnations of unjustified lethal violence by soldiers against civilians, particularly by the Parachute Regiment. Nationalist politicians of the most moderate variety were appealing to Dublin, London, Washington, wherever, to do something to restrain the army gunmen. But senior officers including Ford paid no heed.

Toleration of murderous behaviour might have been inferred from the fact that no inquiry had been held into the Ballymurphy massacre nor any soldier disciplined nor any statement issued by the political or military authorities expressing sorrow or regret at the 11 deaths. What were the paras to believe but that what they’d done in Ballymurphy was acceptable to their superiors - indeed, was what had been expected of them?

Saville’s conclusion that there was no evidence of a “culture of tolerance” would be unremarkable if by “evidence” he meant testimony to the Inquiry. But he had declined at an early stage to examine prior events in the North on the ground - in itself not unreasonable - that to subject the Ballymurphy incident, for example, to the same level of scrutiny as Bloody Sunday would have made the Tribunal’s task impossible. This makes the statement that “We found no evidence...” puzzling: the Tribunal had decided not to seek such evidence.

Ford should have had vivid memory of the paras’ involvement in Ballymurphy. He had arrived in the North to take up his post on August 6th 1971 - three days before the introduction of internment without trial which triggered the protests that led to the Ballymurphy events. The internment killings were his baptism of fire which it is impossible to believe he could have forgotten six months later. But Saville finds that he neither knew nor had reason to know that the soldiers of the same battalion whom he sent into the Bogside to deal with the aftermath of an anti-internment march might open fire without justification. This is not credible.

If the report had gone where the evidence led and concluded that Ford shared responsibility for the killings, Cameron could not have castigated the killers in such unequivocal terms while maintaining that their behaviour would have been regarded as intolerable and would not have been condoned by those in authority over the army.

When he read through Saville’s report, General Sir Michael Jackson must have heaved an even deeper sigh of relief than Major General Ford. Jackson was the man who organised the cover-up of the killings. His denials of his role at the Inquiry were implausible to the point of being farcical. But Saville found no fault in him.

Jackson testified at the Methodist Central Hall in Westminster in April 2003 that, although he had been in the Bogside and in the vicinity of the shooting, he had no clear memory of seeing anyone shooting or anyone shot. He shrugged off the incredulity of the families’ lawyers. He made no mention of compiling a list of the shots which had been fired or of having written out any other description of the day.

The following month saw Major Ted Loden on the witness stand. He had been the commander of Support Company of 1 Para: his men had fired all of the shots which killed or wounded. He described how, late in the afternoon, shortly after the killing ended, he had taken statements from the soldiers who had fired rounds and in each case had plotted map references showing the location of the shooter and of his target and had noted the soldier’s account of why he had fired - the target had appeared to be armed with a gun or a nail or petrol bomb or whatever. Loden told that he had interviewed the soldiers one by one as he sat in the back of an armoured vehicle at the paras’ forming up point on Clarence Avenue a few hundred yards from Rossville Street, with the map spread out on his lap and by the light of a battery-powered lamp. He had written out the details by hand.

Map on his lap, pen in hand, lamp-light flickering, the compilation of the list must have been a lengthy, awkward task. Not the sort of experience to be conjured out of nothing or to slip the mind.

The document handed to Loden on the witness stand was type-written. Loden said that it must have been typed out from his handwritten notes, no copy of which appeared to have survived. The following morning, however, Saville’s lead barrister, Christopher Clarke QC, announced that a handwritten copy had been discovered overnight. An employee of the Department of Defence, he told, had called in to the hearing the previous day out of casual interest and had heard Loden’s evidence about the list. (The MoD’s HQ was on Whitehall, a few hundred yards from where the inquiry was sitting.) It occurred to the MoD official that this list seemed reminiscent of a hand-written document which he had come across at his office. So he had gone back to work and found it and brought it in and passed it to the tribunal.

Loden, still on the witness stand, looked at the document and said that while he recognised the content, the handwriting wasn’t his. Had he any idea, then, whose it was, queried Clarke? Loden replied that it appeared, possibly, to be General Jackson’s. But if, as he had testified, he had written out the list himself, how come this document was in Jackson’s hand? Loden replied: “Well, I cannot answer that question.” This was greeted by a perplexed silence from all parties. Saville announced that he’d have to consider recalling Jackson.

Jackson returned to the witness stand in October. He had been a 26-year-old captain in 1972, present in the Bogside as second-in-command to Wilford. His subsequent ascent through the ranks had been impressive. He was now Chief of the General Staff, Britain’s top soldier.

None of the shots described in the list conformed to any of the shots which evidence told had actually been fired. Some of the trajectories showed bullets passing through buildings before finding their targets. The map-references given as the positions of the shooters bore little relation to the positions in which the soldiers giving evidence had placed themselves. None of the locations where uncontested evidence showed the victims had fallen was recorded as such in the map references. It wasn’t that the list contained inaccuracies: from start to finish, it was wrong in every detail.

A number of other documents in Jackson’s hand, also discovered by the MoD man, were produced. These were narrative accounts of the events of the day by Wilford, by the commanders of the three para companies which had gone into the Bogside - Support, A and C - and by the battalion intelligence officer. Taken together with the shot-list, these represented a substantial hand-written dossier which it must have required considerable time and painstaking labour to produce.

Jackson had made no mention of any of this in his statement to the Inquiry or in his previous evidence. None of the five officers whose accounts had been set out in his hand-writing had recalled being interviewed by him or supplying him with any relevant information.

Jackson explained that he had entirely forgotten producing the documents when first giving evidence but had recovered a “vague memory” after learning of the document produced to the Inquiry and put to Loden.

Under questioning, he seemed hampered by a continuing vagueness of memory, on more than 20 occasions using phrases along the lines, “I cannot remember,” “I do not recall,” “I am afraid I cannot help you there.”

In his report, Saville resolves one of Jackson’s difficulties by accepting both Loden’s original claim that he had written out the shot-list and Jackson’s subsequent explanation that he must have copied Loden’s script verbatim - although Jackson could offer no explanation why he might have done this or recall the circumstances in which it might have happened.

The inquiry heard no satisfactory evidence as to who in the immediate aftermath of the massacre had asked or ordered Jackson to compile or transcribe an account of events. In a supplementary statement made before his second appearance, he told that: “I am confident that the statements resulted from an order from 8 Brigade (which in turn would almost certainly have been on instruction from HQNI)...It is even possible that the requirement may have been instigated in London, but that is pure speculation on my part.”

Speculation or not, the fact that Jackson had volunteered the possibility of the exercise having been ordered from London was intriguing. Just as intriguing was the fact that none of the barristers present thought it worthwhile pursuing the point with any vigour and trying to establish who in London might, a few hours at most after the killings, have sent word to Derry that the account be produced which, we now know, turned out to be a compendium of lies.

It was not put to Jackson that an alternative explanation for this witch’s brew of falsehood was that a lying account of events was urgently needed and that he had been singled out as the most suitable man for the job.

In his report, Saville rejects suggestions that “the list played some part in a cover-up to conceal the emerging truth that some innocent civilians had been shot and killed by soldiers of 1 Para. It is not explained exactly how this conspiracy is said to have worked.”

Having declared that it was not clear how a cover-up based on the Jackson documents might have worked, Saville continues: “The list did play a role in the Army’s explanations of what occurred on the day.” He cites an interview on BBC radio at one am on the day after Bloody Sunday in which the army’s head of information policy in the North, Maurice Tugwell, used the list as his basis for explaining the “shooting engagements”.

About nine hours after the last shots were fired in Rossville Street, then, the list possibly commissioned by someone in London and compiled by Jackson was being used in a live radio interview by the army’s leading spokesperson in the North as the basis for explaining to a BBC audience that all of those killed and wounded had deserved it.

Elsewhere, Saville finds that “information from the list was used by Lord Balniel, the Minister of State for Defence, in the House of Commons on 1st February 1972, when he defended the actions of the soldiers.”

Saville also had evidence that the shot-list had been distributed to British diplomatic missions around the world as a guide for answering questions on the killings.

Most common-sense people would see this not just as evidence of a conspiracy to cover up the truth but as a practical account of the conspiracy in action - with General Sir Michael Jackson at the heart of it.

But if that had been Saville’s conclusion, had the man at the very apex of Britain’s armed forces been found to have concocted a series of lies to conceal unjustified and unjustifiable killings, Cameron would not have been able to speak in terms which were to be hailed as a major move towards reconciliation and healing in Ireland.

Cameron’s Commons speech, to give it a positive construction, may have reflected a genuine willingness to acknowledge the now-undeniable innocence of the victims. It was also based on a false account of the role of the most senior army officers in Derry on the day and of much higher military and political figures. The fact that this account had effectively been endorsed by Saville was a godsend for Cameron, for the British establishment generally, and for those in Ireland who wanted no lingering awkward issues to complicate their increasingly friendly relations with their British counterparts.

Jackson’s leading role in the cover-up obviously did his military career no harm. On the contrary, we might reasonably speculate, one of the reasons for the successive promotions which were to carry him all the way to the top may have been that, back in 1972, still in his ‘20s, he had shown himself capable of micro-managing the aftermath of an army massacre.

One additional mysterious aspect of the shot-list affair concerned the circumstances in which the hand-written documents had originally come to light. Christopher Clarke recounted these to the Inquiry. A corporal based at Ebrington Barracks in Derry, HQ of 8 Brigade, had chanced upon them in August 1998 while clearing out a cupboard in an administrative office. At the time, the corporal was involved in a long-running debate with his brother about the rights and wrongs of Bloody Sunday.

The account continued that, recognising the relevance of the documents and believing that they supported his view and not his brother’s, he thought to make copies and send them to his brother. However, he left a copy behind in the photostat machine, where it was discovered by an officer. The corporal was court-martialed, convicted of “conduct prejudicial to good order and military discipline,” reduced to the ranks and discharged in disgrace. He remains the only soldier to have been charged with any offence in connection with Bloody Sunday.

 

 

 

Saville baulked at key facts to save the political elite
Nuzhound 23/03/14 (Belfast Telegraph)

By Eamonn McCann

Patrick Murphy wrote in the Irish News last Saturday that some of Lord Saville's conclusions about Bloody Sunday were wrong. Saville had balked at key facts so as to let the top brass and the Government off the hook, Murphy suggested. He is right about that – and right to link the demands of the relatives for prosecution of the paras to the issue of on-the-runs (OTRs).

The refusal of the relatives to endorse a deal which would have freed both the Bloody Sunday shooters and the OTRs from fear of prosecution was a major factor in Sinn Fein's withdrawal of support from the Act proposed at Westminster to achieve this objective. Hence the side deal on OTRs.

Murphy is almost right in suggesting that the point of the killings was to drive the civil rights movement off the streets and clear the way for a war with armed republicanism.

However, the specific motivation for Bloody Sunday was to smash Free Derry, the "no-go" area which had been barricaded against the forces of the state since the introduction of internment five months earlier.

Documents published by Saville, convey the rage – it's not too strong a word – of senior officers, including the Commander of Land Forces NI, General Robert Ford, at the failure to put "Free Derry" down.

Three weeks before Bloody Sunday, Ford visited Derry and spoke to garrison commanders before writing a memo declaring himself "disturbed" by their attitude. Ford then arranged for the first battalion of the paras to go to Derry – for the first time – and take the lead in dealing with the anti-internment demonstration on January 30.

Saville dismissed suggestions that Ford ought to have known that this might be unwise and dangerous – in spite of evidence that senior officers were aghast.

Green Jackets commander Colonel Peter Welch phoned an aide to the Chief of the General Staff in London to ask for intervention from the top to stymie Ford's plan.

Welch told that he had been advised by a superior that his intervention was certain to prove pointless, since the plan had been endorsed "at the highest level".

In spite of this and a good deal of other evidence, Saville found that Ford "neither knew nor had reason to know" that there might be "unjustifiable" firing by soldiers on the day.

Saville went further and declared that there was "no evidence" that the political, or military, authorities "tolerated ... the use of unjustified lethal force". This cannot have been even a "contributory" cause of the Bloody Sunday shootings, he ruled.

The media at the time were carrying regular complaints of unjustified lethal violence by soldiers, particularly by paras, and condemnation of military chiefs for failure to restrain them. Ford, in particular, should have had vivid memory of the Ballymurphy massacre.

He had arrived on August 6, 1971 – three days before the para killing spree which was to leave 11 people dead. But Saville reported that Ford had had no reason to suspect that the same soldiers might open fire without justification in Derry. This is perverse.

If Saville had followed the evidence, had he ascribed blame to Ford and other high-ranking Army officers, it would not have been possible for David Cameron to denounce the killings as "unjustified and unjustifiable", while maintaining that the incident cast no shadow on the Army, or the political elite, and required no conclusions to be drawn with regard to the conduct of state forces.

It would not have been possible for the Northern Ireland Office to brief nationalist leaders in advance on the broad findings of the inquiry and confidently to arrange broadcast of Cameron's Commons remarks to a crowd in Guildhall Square.

The orchestration of the publication of Saville's report was cynical and shameless, while meeting the needs of the main players in the peace process. Whether it met the needs of truth and justice is another matter.

No evidence emerged at the inquiry to suggest that those who planned and supervised the killings, or their political masters, were concerned in the slightest about the Union, or the unionists, or "the poor bloody infantry".

All that concerned them was to defend the reputation of the political elite.

It would be a travesty if the Bloody Sunday paras were brought to trial, while men with much greater responsibility for the killings went free.

But, of course, there's a British tradition of that, too.