Ballymurphy familes forced to stand alone against Bloody Sunday soldier’s supporters in Belfast

Several hundred turned out to protest outside Belfast City Hall

Image: Justin Kernoghan

But two counter Republican protests were called off:

Meanwhile, the IRSP has called off a planned protest today, saying it had become aware that the City Hall event was being organised by people from the loyalist community.

Hardline republican party Saoradh said it had also dropped plans to hold a counter protest “following consultation with families affected by collusion and state murder, in addition to an internal membership discussion”.

Ballymurphy families countered a Belfast protest against the the prosecution of an Army veteran for double murder

 

 

Solider F is accused of two murders and four attempted murders on Bloody Sunday, 1972.

Hundreds gathered outside Belfast City Hall to call on the UK government to “enact protective legislation” to “safeguard” former British forces and police accused of crimes over the 30-year conflict.

But the families of those killed in disputed circumstances during the conflict have long campaigned for and support prosecutions.

Ballymurphy families hold counter protest for their loved ones Image: Justin Kernoghan

Ballymurphy Massacre group spokesman John Teggart said: “No one is above the law and justice must be served.

READ MORE
Ballymurphy inquest told Army officer suggested planting ammo on victims

“The fact that these crimes happened nearly 50 years ago is irrelevant. It might have been a long time ago, but the illegal acts of these soldiers is affecting the families to this day.”

Thousands of bikers recently took to the streets of London in a similar protest against the legal action against ‘Soldier F’ Photo taken: London Bridge
Former serviceman Dennis Hutchings, pictured above, who is due to be tried for attempted murder in connection with a fatal shooting in which he shot a vunruable man in the back in 1974, addressed the Belfast rally on the phone.

READ MORE British Army soldier to be prosecuted for murder of teenager shot dead during Troubles

He told supporters: “We need this to continue and it will continue.

“Eventually our politicians are going to have to listen because if they won’t we will bring this country to a standstill.” (Image: Justin Kernoghan)

 

With many thanks to: Belfast Live and Michael McHugh and Shauna Corr for the original story

Rally in Belfast in support of British Army murderers

A banner in support of ‘Soldier F’ charged with double murder on Bloody Sunday in Ballymacash in Lisburn. Picture by Matt Bohill

 

A RALLY will be held today in Belfast in support of British soldiers who served in Northern Ireland during the Troubles.

The protest comes as Parachute Regiment flags and banners backing former troops have appeared in loyalist areas in recent weeks. And goes to prove there was collusion between loyalist paramilitaries and British Crown Forces

 

The campaign has focused on a former Paratrooper known as ‘Soldier F’ who is to be charged with murdering two people during Bloody Sunday in January 1972.

BALLYMURPHY 1971 – BRITISH STATE MURDER FOR HIRE

Two groups, Paras Fight Back and NI Crown Forces Veterans for Justice (NICFV), have organised today’s protest – dubbed the ‘Rally for Justice’ – which will take place at the City Hall.

Lagan Valley SDLP assembly member Pat Catney has complained about a banner supporting ‘Soldier F’ put up in the Ballymacash district of Lisburn.

He said the banner, which is across a roadway, has been put up outside a polling station.

“We don’t need to be poking each other in the eye,” he said.

Mr Catney urged people to be “sensitive” as legal processes are currently underway including the Ballymurphy inquest.

“There is an inquest and court case and all we get is more flags and bunting and that’s not where we want to be.”

Alliance MLA Trevor Lunn also said the banner was designed to increase community tensions in the area.

Meanwhile, the IRSP has called off a planned protest today, saying it had become aware that the City Hall event was being organised by people from the loyalist community.

Hardline republican party Saoradh said it had also dropped plans to hold a counter protest “following consultation with families affected by collusion and state murder, in addition to an internal membership discussion”.

With many thanks to: The Irish News and Connla Young for the original story

Up to 200 ex-soldiers and police facing Troubles investigations

Figure comes as rift opens between NIO and MoD over how to deal with historical enquiry investigations

Veterans protest against the persecution of ‘Soldier F’

 

As many as 200 former members of the British security forces are under official investigation for alleged criminal actions during the Troubles as a rift opens up between the Northern Ireland Office and the Ministry of Defence over how to deal with historical accusations.

There are at least three prosecutions against British soldiers under way. A former Parachute Regiment lance-corporal, identified only so far as “Soldier F”, is due to stand trial for murder and attempted murder for his role in the 1972 Bloody Sunday killings. Altogether, it is understood that between 150 and 200 former soldiers and police are under investigation for alleged actions taken during the Troubles.

The figure, which is an MoD estimate, has surfaced as the government comes under intense pressure from Tory backbenchers – as well as thousands of current and former service personnel who protested last week against the prosecutions of troops over actions on Bloody Sunday and other occasions.

One veteran was told in a letter from his MP, a former security minister, that prosecutions of British soldiers were being driven by a “cultural Marxist hatred of our national history” on the part of the “liberal establishment”.

The comments were made by Sir John Hayes in a letter to a former soldier, who posted it on an official Facebook page being used to organise a march last Friday in support of troops facing charges over killings during Bloody Sunday and on other dates.

The MP’s language mirrors that of a former minister, Suella Braverman, who was criticised last month by a leading Jewish group and others for also using the term “cultural Marxism” in a reference to a conspiracy theory often associated with the far right and antisemitism.

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The hardline position taken by Hayes and other Tory backbenchers comes as more evidence emerged suggesting a split between different government departments over whether or not army veterans could be granted amnesty for alleged historical offences.

As the MoD and Northern Ireland Office pursue separate reviews and policy priorities, Gavin Williamson, the defence secretary, has been trying to reassure service chiefs and veterans’ organisation

British Paratroopers having a good ole ‘knee’s up’

His department is currently preparing a bill for the Queen’s speech that would impose a statute of limitations on prosecutions relating to alleged offences committed outside the UK and dating back more than 10 years – unless there are exceptional circumstances or new evidence.

Murder is Murder the British Prime Minister of the Tory Party ever spoke

However, in correspondence seen by the Guardian, the Northern Ireland Office this month sought to reassure a Belfast-based campaign group that any scheme would not cover Northern Ireland.

Relatives For Justice had expressed alarm at a recent announcement in parliament by the armed forces minister Mark Lancaster that the MoD was working “closely with the Northern Ireland Office on new arrangements, including to ensure that our armed forces and police officers are not unfairly treated”.

The Northern Ireland Office told the group in an email that what Lancaster was referring to was not at odds with what the Northern Ireland secretary, Karen Bradley, had said to them privately and what it said the MoD was “considering in an international context”.

    The two victims of the Parachute Regiment who Soldier F is charged with murdering but all the British Para’s we’re guilty of murder in the First Degree

“What we want is a way forward which provides for evidence of wrongdoing to be investigated and, where evidence exists, prosecutions to follow,” the Northern Ireland Office letter reiterated.

Paul O’Connor, director of the Pat Finucane Centre in Derry, which supports the families of Troubles’ victims, also recently had a meeting with Bradley at which he sought reassurances that there would be no amnesties for soldiers involved in the Troubles.

The British Secretary of State for the North of Ireland needs to step aside

“She was very clear that she would not introduce any amnesty and that the MoD was doing its own thing and that was about Iraq and Afghanistan,” he told the Guardian, adding that the MoD was “playing games but the problem is that is unsettling people in Northern Ireland”.

But in a reflection of the Tory right’s position on the issue, Hayes went as far as saying in his letter to the veteran that there should be no retrospective charges against any troops “irrespective of any actions they are alleged to have committed”.

His stance was praised by other veterans on the forum, where many angrily fulminated against a “betrayal” by MPs.

A UK government spokesperson said: “The system to investigate the past needs to change to provide better outcomes for victims and survivors of the Troubles and to also ensure members of our armed forces and police are not disproportionally affected. This is why we have consulted widely on the system in Northern Ireland.

“The 2017 manifesto made clear any approach to the past must be consistent with the rule of law. We have always said that we will not introduce amnesties or immunities from prosecution in Northern Ireland. The Ministry of Defence is currently looking at what more can be done to provide further legal protection to service personnel and veterans, including considering legislation.”

With many thanks to: The Guardian and Owen Boycott and Ben Quinn for the original story

Furious North of Ireland veterans take aim at Whitehall for ‘betraying nation’s military’

Lieutenant Colonel (retired) Chris Parker, right, is outraged over the treatment of Soldier F

 

 

MILITARY leaders are gearing up for an offensive against Whitehall over the ‘disgusting’ treatment of ageing veterans at risk of prosecution over Bloody Sunday.

It comes as anger continues to boil over in the nation’s armed forces community, which is outraged at the treatment of Soldier F, the British veteran charged with the murder of a teenage boy during the 1972 incident in Northern Ireland.

Motorcyclists take part in the Rolling Thunder ride protest cross Westminster Bridge in London, in support of Soldier F, who is facing prosecution over Bloody Sunday. Photo: Kirsty O’Connor/PA Wire

 

Now a leading infantry officer, who grew up in Cowplain, is preparing to lobby a government minister, demanding the charges are dropped.

Northern Ireland veteran Chris Parker, chairman of the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment Association which represents hundreds of soldiers across the Portsmouth area, has vowed to write a letter to veterans minister, Tobias Ellwood to express his disgust.

The retired Lieutenant Colonel said he was sickened by the treatment of his fellow serviceman and branded it a betrayal to the nation’s military.

Speaking exclusively to The News, Lt Col Parker – who was the chief of staff of the 8,000-strong 7th Armoured Brigade in the Middle East – said: ‘Veterans are becoming exasperated and feel totally let down and angry.

‘Are we now a nation that decides its veterans can be abused in their old age whilst terrorists retire with money and immunity?’

The comments come as veterans ready themselves for another round of protests following a rally in London earlier this month, which saw as many as 20,000 taking to the streets of Westminster in part of the ‘Rolling Thunder’ bike procession.

One former Lieutenant, who served as a platoon commander in the 3rd Battalion, the Parachute Regiment and took part in the rally, said his comrades felt sickened.

The 60-year-old, who The News is not naming, served eight years in the army and completed two tours of Northern Ireland in the late 70s. He said: ‘What’s happening right now is madness. I know a lot of the guys are so sickened they’re thinking of throwing away their medals.

‘I was on the streets of Northern Ireland and it was a horrible place to be.

‘There were riots and you would have bricks and excrement thrown at you. It was incredibly violent. Then they would all just disappear.

‘I know of an 18-year-old Green Jacket who got caught by a gang. They told him to hand over his weapon.

Commander John Cromie, commanding officer of HMS St Albans, has told of his pride’Picture: Habibur Rahman
Captain of HMS St Albans tells of his pride at leading D-Day…
‘He must have been terrified. He handed over his gun – then they killed him. It was nasty over there.’

The veteran said there was growing support for a second rally to take place, claiming campaigners were looking to take to the streets of Derry later this month.

It comes as up to 20 soldiers still face being formally questioned by police for alleged murder, attempted murder or criminal injury during Bloody Sunday.

Meanwhile it emerged last week more than 180 alleged IRA members on the run were granted ‘get out of jail free’ cards as part of the Northern Ireland peace process.

The conflict began in the late 1960s. It formally ended with the Good Friday Agreement of 1998.

More than 1,000 British soldiers were killed during the conflict.

With many thanks to: THE NEWS, PORTSMOUTH and Tom Cotterill for the original story

 

Outrage as soldiers from the British Parachute Regiment use image of Jeremy Corbyn for target practice

A video of British soldiers from the Parachute Regiment using a large image of Labour party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, for target practice has resulted in widespread anger and outage after it was shared on social media on Tuesday evening.

The video emerged on Twitter on Tuesday and shows four British soldiers pointing handguns at a large photograph of Mr. Corbyn.

Soldiers from the British Parachute Regiment pictured using a large image of Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn

 

Soldiers from the British Parachute Regiment pictured using a large image of Labour party leader, Jeremy Corbyn.
After the soldiers have finished discharging their weapons the person recording the incident moves the camera towards the image to show how many of the projectiles struck Mr. Corbyn’s face.

“We are aware of a video circulating on social media, this behaviour is totally unacceptable and falls well below the high standards the army expects, a full investigation has been launched,” said a spokesperson for the British army.

The 1st Battalion, Parachute Regiment were responsible for the deaths of 14 people who lost their lives as a result of Bloody Sunday in Derry on January 30, 1972.

The soldiers in the video were from 3rd Battalion, Parachute Regiment.

The incident concerning the video was discussed on talk radio station, L.B.C., by presenter James O’Brien on Wednesday.

Kate Nash, whose 19 year-old brother, William Nash, was shot dead by British soldiers on Bloody Sunday.

Ms. Nash contacted L.B.C. to condemn the video.

“The video is an assault on democracy,” said Ms. Nash whose father, Alexander Nash, was shot by the British army as he attempted to reach his son, William, on Bloody Sunday.

“Nobody’s face should be used like that – it’s an incitement to hatred plain and simple,” she added.

With many thanks to: Derry Journal and Andrew Quinn for the original story

 

MoD disputes Bloody Sunday compensation claim and considers appeal

 

Victim waving white handkerchief moments before death Bloody Sunday

 

 

The family of the last person to be killed by British soldiers on Bloody Sunday appear set to receive at least £258,000 in damages.

The recommended pay-out for the shooting of father-of-six Bernard “Barney” McGuigan in Derry was disclosed during proceedings at the High Court.

But a possible appeal is also being considered against a ruling that an extra £15,000 should be awarded for injury to the 41-year-old victim’s feelings.

Thirteen people were shot dead when members of the Parachute Regiment opened fire on civil rights demonstrators in January 1972. A fourteenth victim died later from his wounds.

Civil actions were brought by victims and their families after a major tribunal established the innocence of all those killed and wounded.

The Saville Inquiry’s findings in 2010 prompted the then Prime Minister, David Cameron, to publicly apologise for the actions of the soldiers.

He described the Bloody Sunday killings as “unjustified and unjustifiable”.

With liability accepted, proceedings are centred on the level of damages to be paid out.

More than £1.8m has already been paid out in settlements and awards made in 16 other claims.

Mr McGuigan, a painter and decorator, was shot at the Rossville Flats area as he went to the aid of 31-year-old Patrick Doherty, another of those shot dead on the day.

Bernard “Barney” McGuinness was murdered on Bloody Sunday

 

Bernard “Barney” McGuigan was killed on Bloody Sunday
He had been waving a white handkerchief when hit by a bullet to the head, killing him instantly.

Counsel for the McGuigan family, Brian Fee QC, contended that aggravated damages should also be awarded due to the circumstances surrounding his killing.

“This man emerged from a position of shelter to try and help others, and must have been terrified as he did so,” he said.

David Ringland QC, representing the Ministry of Defence (MoD), argued that aggravated damages are not recoverable because death was instantaneous.

Ruling on the dispute, Mr Justice McAlinden backed the plaintiff.

“The wrongful actions of the servants or agents of the defendant on the day in question would have filled the deceased with fear and dread, coupled with a strong sense of indignation and hurt at being the innocent victim of a blatant, unprovoked and unjust attack by members of the army,” he said.

He also held that the behaviour of the soldiers responsible for the shootings was “imbued with a degree of malevolence and flagrancy which was truly exceptional”.

Based on Mr McGuigan being killed instantly, the judge decided his estate is entitled to £15,000 aggravated damages.

At a further hearing on Thursday he was told the MoD is considering whether to appeal that award, and that counsel has provided advice.

Any challenge could impact on similar claims for aggravated damages in outstanding cases brought by the Doherty family and others, the court heard.

It then emerged that an overall settlement of £273,000 has been advanced in the McGuigan case – made up of £258,000 plus the £15,000 awarded.

“That’s the recommended figure,” Mr Ringland said.

Noting the agreement reached between counsel, Mr Justice McAlinden said a formal decree can be made once final authorisation is obtained.

Outside court a lawyer for the Doherty family expressed disappointment at both having their case adjourned and the potential appeal to the aggravated damages award to the McGuigan family.

Fearghal Shiels of Madden & Finucane Solicitors claimed: “It is a trivial amount in the context of the MoD’s limitless budget, and their general approach to this litigation is far removed from the efficient manner with which it undertook to approach these proceedings in 2011.”

With many thanks to the: Belfast Telegraph and Alan Erwin for the original story

Bloody Sunday and how the British empire came home | openDemocracy

https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/opendemocracyuk/bloody-sunday-british-empire/