Cookstown Sinn Féin John McNamee has condemned the weekend erection of Parachute Regiment flags in the town centre “that glorify the Bloody Sunday massacre.”
Councillor John McNamee wants the flags removed “While I’m aware that similar flags have been erected elsewhere those erected in Cookstown have a more sinister message on them,” he said.
“The flags I have seen have the message ‘Londonderry 1972 No Surrender’ emblazoned on them which is an obvious reference to the Bloody Sunday Massacre carried out by the Parachute regiment in Derry on January 30 1972.
“This is a deliberate act to cause further distress to the families of those murdered on that day and a pathetic attempt to glorify what is internationally recognised as a war crime.
“The ‘Paras’ have an unsavoury reputation in the north, this has been demonstrated further with the ongoing inquests which have highlighted their murderous actions in the Ballymurphy massacre.
“Those who erected these flags have committed a blatant hate crime and I am calling for their immediate removal.
I am also calling on the PSNI to investigate those responsible for this hate crime as these flags were erected in full view of the town’s CCTV cameras”.
Councillor McNamee said flags will always be contentious but most organisations erect them and remove them when their relevant cultural events have concluded. “These flags have no cultural significance so they should be removed without delay before they cause any further anguish.
As this is a serious breach of the peace I am calling on the PSNI to work with the relevant agencies namely Mid Ulster Council and the Department for Infrastructure to ensure that these offensive flags are removed immediately,” he said.
With many thanks to the: Tyrone Times for the original story
An SDLP representative has hit out at the flying of Parachute Regiment flags in Belfast describing it as an “insult” to the families of those killed at Bloody Sunday and the Ballymurphy massacre.
The flags were erected in north Belfast at the junction of the Oldpark Road and Ballysillan Road sometime on Saturday. There have also been reports of flags flying in other parts of Northern Ireland.
It is in contravention of the flags protocol put forward by the Loyalist Communities Council which stated flags should be flown in a “respectful” manner and not in a way to be used for provocative purposes and only between June and September.
Sources in the area told the Belfast Telegraph they were put up to show “solidarity” with soldier F, who faces prosecution over the killings of two people on Bloody Sunday and the attempted murder of four others.
Carl Whyte, who is the SDLP’s member of the independent Commission on Flags, Identity, Culture and Tradition said whoever put the flags up showed “complete ignorance of the history of the Parachute Regiment in Northern Ireland”.
He said residents in the area had been in contact to voice their concerns.
“These flags should be taken down immediately before they cause any further distress,” he said.
“I am calling on community leaders in the area to exercise their influence. I have also written to the Department of Infrastructure requesting their immediate removal.”
Thirteen people were killed and 15 wounded after members of the Army’s Parachute Regiment opened fire on civil rights demonstrators in Derry’s Bogside on January 30, 1972. A 14th person died in hospital.
A number of unionist representatives could not be reached or did not respond to request for comment.
However, a source in the community said the flags had been erected to show “solidarity with Soldier F”.
“People in these communities are angry that republican protagonists have been handed down letters of comfort whilst veterans lie in their beds at night waiting for a rap at the door.”
With many thanks to the: Belfast Telegraph for the original posting.
On 31 July 1975 ,five people were killed, including three members of a beloved Irish cabaret band, The Miami Showband, on the A1 road at Buskhill in County Down.
The attack was perpetrated by the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), a loyalist paramilitary group.
The band was travelling home to Dublin late at night after a performance in Banbridge when their minibus was stopped at what appeared to be a military checkpoint.
Guest on BBC show reveals behind the scenes information on ‘how incredibly stupid the show’ is
Gunmen in British Army uniforms ordered them to line up by the roadside. At least four of the gunmen were soldiers from the British Army’s Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR), and all were members of the UVF.
Two of the gunmen, both soldiers, died when the time bomb they were hiding on the minibus exploded.
The murders were later described as “the day the music died” because the band members were from both sides of the religious divide. To compound the grief and pain, The Miami Showband were completely apolitical and were extremely popular with fans from both communities.
Here’s what the official synopsis states: “Ambushed by Ulster loyalists, three members of the Miami Showband were killed in Northern Ireland in 1975. Was the crime linked to the government?”
The documentary will examine the search for justice while examining allegations of collusion between the British Army and the killers.
ReMastered: The Miami Showband Massacre is available to watch on Netflix from 22 March.
ReMastered: O Massacre da Miami Showband | Trailer Oficial Legendado [Brasil] [HD] | Netflix
Clip via Trailers Netflix 1 DAY AGO Netflix’s gripping new documentary on The Troubles is an extremely powerful watch PAUL MOORE
Britain’s self-righteous tone when denouncing Russia for the alleged assassination of Sergei Skripal ignores its own not so distant history of engaging in state-sponsored assassinations.
by Gavin OReilly
March 15th, 2018
With the eyes of the world focused on the alleged nerve agent attack on Sergei Skripal, the Russian who worked as a British double-agent before being exiled to the UK in 2010, since he and his daughter were found slumped on a Salisbury public bench last Sunday, one can’t help but notice the hypocritical reaction of the British political establishment to the attack.
Addressing the House of Commons on Monday, Prime Minister Theresa May alleged Kremlin involvement in the incident due to ‘Russia’s record of conducting state-sponsored assassinations’.
These words were spoken in a self-righteous sense, one that suggested the UK held the moral ground over Russia and would never go so far as to conduct assassinations of political opponents on foreign soil.
Anyone with even a basic knowledge of British foreign policy towards Ireland however, would know that this patently isn’t the case.
In 1989, the north of Ireland was at the height of a bloody conflict in which Irish Republican militants were waging a guerrilla campaign on Crown Forces in a bid to end British rule in the region.
In order to counter the threat posed by the IRA and other such groups, Westminster had long decided that anyone charged with Republican activity in the occupied six counties would be brought before a non-Jury ‘Diplock’ court; thus maximizing the chances of conviction and imprisonment.
He would quickly become a thorn in the side of the British establishment by representing Republicans in several high-profile cases throughout the 1980s, with the final straw coming in November 1988 when he successfully defended an IRA Volunteer in a case related to the deaths of two British soldiers.
On the 12th of February 1989, a pro-British death squad burst into Pat Finucane’s home and shot him 14 times as he had Sunday dinner with his wife and children.
The death squad in question, the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), was a then-legal organisation under the control of the Force Research Unit (FRU), a covert British military unit tasked with turning the UDA into a more ‘professional’ organisation.
British state involvement in the killing went even higher than the military, with then-Home Office Minister Douglas Hogg lamenting in the weeks before Finucane’s death that there were Lawyers in the north of Ireland who were ‘unduly sympathetic to the cause of the IRA’.
The murder of Pat Finucane was not an isolated incident however, and not even a tactic confined by the British to intense periods of conflict in Ireland, such as the 1980s were.
Ten years after Finucane’s killing, the level of conflict in Ireland had decreased significantly following the 1998 surrender agreement between the Provisional IRA and British government.
This ‘peace’ however, was and still is maintained by the threat of violence from the British state should anything upset the status quo.
This is what ultimately led to the murder of Rosemary Nelson.
A human rights lawyer, like Pat Finucane, Rosemary had also risen to prominence through her successful defence of Republicans in high-profile cases.
However, it was her representation of the family of Robert Hamill, a young Nationalist beaten to death by a Loyalist mob in 1997 whilst in full view of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) the north of Ireland’s pro-British police force, that drew the most ire from the British establishment.
On the 15th of March 1999, Rosemary Nelson was killed by a car bomb outside her home in Armagh, occupied Ireland. The attack was claimed by the Red Hand Defenders (RHD), a breakaway faction of the UDA.
In the days following her murder, it emerged that members of the RUC’s covert Special Branch had been involved in a surveillance operation close to Nelson’s home the night before her death, ostensibly to monitor suspected members of the IRA.
Despite the intense surveillance of the area surrounding Nelson’s home, no Special Branch members reported seeing the RHD team that carried out attack; like Pat Finucane, Rosemary Nelson had also become another victim of Britain’s bloody record of state-sponsored assassinations.
Top Photo | British soldiers examine the bomb scene in Lurgan, Northern Ireland where high profile Catholic attorney Rosemary Nelson was killed by booby-trap bomb which exploded under her BMW, Monday March 15,1999. (AP/Peter Morrison)
Gavin O’Reilly is an Irish Republican and social activist from Dublin, Ireland. Secretary of Dublin Anti-Internment Committee.
With many thanks to: MINTPRESS for the original posting
Former soldier Dennis Hutchings has begun his appeal to the Supreme Court against a decision to try him in a Diplock Court.
Mr Hutchings is due to be tried for attempted murder in connection with a fatal shooting in NI in 1974.
A Diplock Court is a non-jury trial heard by a judge only.
Mr Hutchings, 77, from Cawsand, Cornwall, has denied charges of attempted murder and attempting to cause grievous bodily harm.
John Pat Cunningham, 27, who had learning difficulties, was shot in the back as he ran away from an Army patrol near Benburb, County Tyrone, in 1974.
Mr Hutchings has made the case it was never his intention to kill or injure Mr Cunningham, but that he was firing warning shots to get him to stop.
Supporters from campaign group Justice for Northern Ireland Veterans clapped and cheered as the ex-soldier arrived at the court in London on Thursday morning.
Mr Hutchings thanked the supporters and said: “Victory for veterans, that’s what we want.”
The former corporal-major in the Life Guards said he was “a bit nervous, obviously, although I don’t think we will get a decision today”.
He said he was “reasonably confident” he would win his case, but added: “I just don’t trust the system anymore.”
What is a Diplock court?
The non-jury system was named after Lord Diplock, a former senior judge and Law Lord.
During the height of the Troubles, he chaired a commission that examined proposed changes in the administration of justice in an attempt to deal with terrorist offences.
The commission published its report in December 1972 and non-jury courts were introduced the following year.
The introduction of Diplock courts was opposed by civil liberty organisations and both nationalists and republicans.
At their peak, more than 300 trials per year were held without a jury.
The government technically abolished the old Diplock courts in 2007.
However, the government gave the director of public prosecutions temporary power to decide that exceptional cases should be tried without a jury if he believed there was still a risk of jurors being intimidated.
In court Mr Hutching’s lawyer argued that in order to be subject to a non-jury trial: “The offence must have occurred due to political or religious hostility (directly or indirectly) and that cannot apply to the security services who were there to uphold law and order and so were not engaging in any such acts (directly or indirectly).”
A lawyer for the NI director of public prosecutions said Mr Hutchings’ contention that the shooting did not relate to “religious or political hostility” effectively “ignores the reality of the situation which prevailed in Northern Ireland in 1974”.
The Supreme Court is expected to reserve its decision.
With many thanks to: BBC News England for the original story
Given Karen Bradley’s comments, Britain may as well admit it has no interest in investigating the army’s abuses during the Troubles
AS the role of secretary of state for Northern Ireland (SOSNI) is no longer fit for purpose, and as it no longer seems to matter which MP actually fills the role, isn’t it time for the British Parliament to be completely honest with the relatives of those killed by crown forces during the Troubles and come clean about having no intentions of helping them to obtain truth and justice?
Look at the facts. Without exception, at Prime Minister’s Questions, when a question is asked or demands made that the investigations of former soldiers be halted, the House remains silent in opposition to that request.
Not one MP will challenge that view or call into question the integrity of former soldiers or the right to know the truth.
For example, last year, in response to a question on the same subject, Theresa May blatantly lied by stating that only those who served in the armed forces or police are being investigated for events relating to the Troubles, when in fact at the time the question was asked, 570 cases relating to terrorism were under investigation.
Is it not the role of the shadow SOSNI, to correct and scrutinise the statement spouted as facts in such cases?
Unfortunately the families are used to it. They have had to kick and fight every inch of the way to make their voices heard and following PMQs on Wednesday March 6 they had to do so again.
In response to a question from the DUP MP Emma Little-Pengelly, relating to legacy issues, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Karen Bradley said: “90 per cent of the killings during the Troubles were at the hands of terrorists, every single one of those was a crime. The fewer than 10 per cent that were at the hands of the military and police were not crimes.”
Not content with making a statement that appears to sweep away the role of the judiciary while undermining the hard work by families, individuals and organisations like the Pat Finucane Centre and Paper Trail which have done brilliant archive research, uncovering facts on behalf of the families of the victims, Bradley then went on to say: “[The police and military] were people acting under orders and instruction and fulfilling their duty in a dignified and appropriate way.”
The timing of Bradley’s statement couldn’t have been worse, with the decision pending relating to the soldiers involved in Bloody Sunday which claimed a total of 14 lives. So what is Bradley’s idea of a “dignified and appropriate” way to be killed?
How about the shooting of 15-year-old Manus Deery in May 1972?
Manus had just received his first pay packet that day. In the evening, he was standing with his friends eating from a bag of chips behind the Bogside Inn in Derry, when shots rang out from British soldiers located on the Derry walls. One of the bullets struck the youngster at the side of his head.
Similar to other historic cases, the Royal Military Police took the soldiers’ statements and consequently there was no RUC investigation into the claim made by the soldiers that a gunman was in the area.
To date, no soldier has ever been prosecuted for the killing. Does Bradley believe this young man’s death was dignified and appropriate?
Or maybe the killing of 16-year-old Michael McCartan in South Belfast met Bradley’s criteria?
Again, like many unarmed civilian killings, the death was in disputed circumstances. Michael, who had been due to start work as an apprentice plasterer, was shot by an RUC officer after painting the word “provo” on a gable end of a house.
The RUC officer stated he had mistakenly took the paintbrush the youth was holding for a gun. Although initially charged with murder, the RUC officer was later acquitted.
These are just two examples of many that could be used.
However, my disgust is not just about what Bradley said, but the lack of action by those present in chamber when Bradley uttered those stomach-churning words.
For although Bradley did eventually apologise for the “offence and hurt” that her words may have caused — no doubt after being warned of the implications of what she had said could have on her job and her career — her apology was not due to pressure from other MPs.
There was no political outcry. The best we had was a comments such as: “Bradley used a poor choice of words.”
Shouldn’t it be mandatory for an MP to believe that any killing of an unarmed, innocent civilian at the hands of crown forces must be scrutinised?
Or is this a “right” not afforded to the people in the north of Ireland?
Instead of objecting to Bradley’s statement, those present stayed silent, too afraid no doubt to stand up for the families of the victims.
Maybe it was for fear of being singled out as anti-armed forces. If so, they completely missed the point that the majority of armed forces who served in the north of Ireland during the recent Troubles did so to the best of their ability, within the rules stipulated and, in most cases, oblivious to the actions of those that acted outside the law.
Sadly, the message from the British Parliament to the families seeking truth and justice was crystal clear. You are not important. You don’t matter.
In a final attempt to cling to her job, Bradley said she fundamentally believed in the rule of law then went on to say: “Where there is evidence of wrongdoing this should be pursed without fear or favour, whoever the perpetrators might be.”
If this is a sincere statement, I look forward to her resignation — but not before authorising the imminent release of all records relating to the Troubles that may well prove alleged state collusion and cover-up, while not forgetting vital documentation that may well assist the families to achieve truth and justice.
With many thanks to the: Morning Star and Richard Rudkin for the original story. Richard Rudkin is a former soldier who served in the North of Ireland. How the Morning Star exposed Britain’s decapitation war crimes
So, the British army was sent here to keep the peace – according to Fionnuala O Connor (and Karen Bradley).
This is the great lie which the British propaganda machine promoted here and throughout the world and still maintains to this day.
The truth is the British were never peacekeepers in Ireland or in any other of their colonies. They were here to maintain control and to put down the ‘restless natives.’
What was peacekeeping about the killing of 11 innocent people in Ballymurphy in 1971 by the Parachute Regiment of the British army?
What kind of peacekeeping was the Parachute Regiment of the British army doing in Derry on Bloody Sunday in January 1972 when 13 innocent civilians were killed by British soldiers?
What kind of peacekeeping was the Argyll and Sutherland regiment doing when they killed two farmers in Newtownbutler on October 23 1972 and when on August 14 1976 they killed a 12-year-old Catholic girl, Majella O’Hare, in Whitecross Co Armagh and 12 other children in the following years?
The British army was involved in many other killings of innocent Catholics as part of Frank Kitson’s plan to defeat ‘the Irish uprising’.
They were ably assisted by the RUC and the UDR in this plan.
Karen Bradley’s comments in Westminster that the British army never committed ‘any crimes’ but were merely doing their duty in “a dignified and appropriate manner” is just another example of the British government’s propaganda machine trying to re-write history.
This time her outrageous remarks have been challenged by the many victims of the British murder machine.
She has yet to do the decent thing and resign.
The big British lie has been well and truly exposed.
Fr JOE McVEIGH
Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh
With many thanks to the: Troops Out Movement for the original posting.