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Bloody Sunday Report
12 years to state the bleeding obvious?
Quote:The Bloody Sunday killings were unjustified and unjustifiable, the Prime Minster has said.
Thirteen marchers were shot dead on 30 January 1972 in Londonderry when British paratroopers opened fire on crowds at a civil rights demonstration.

Fourteen others were wounded, one later died. The Saville Report is heavily critical of the Army and found that soldiers fired the first shot.
Prime Minister David Cameron said he was "deeply sorry".
He said that the findings of the Saville Report were "shocking".
A huge cheer erupted in Guildhall Square in Derry as Mr Cameron delivered the findings which unequivocally blamed the Army for one of the most controversial days in Northern Ireland's history.
BBC legal affairs correspondent Clive Coleman said the decision whether or not to prosecute the soldiers would not be straightforward.
There needed to be sufficient evidence to provide a reasonable prospect of conviction - not an easy test after 38 years.
"If any defendent believes that the passage of time makes a fair trial impossible, they could argue the prosecution was an abuse of process," our correspondent said.
"Any prosecutions would also need to be judged to be in the public interest."
Continue reading the main story
  • Bloody Sunday Report in Full
Click here to read
Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Cameron said what happened on Bloody Sunday was wrong.
Army fired first shot The Prime Minister said:
  • No warning had been given to any civilians before the soldiers opened fire
  • None of the soldiers fired in response to attacks by petrol bombers or stone throwers
  • Some of those killed or injured were clearly fleeing or going to help those injured or dying
  • None of the casualties was posing a threat or doing anything that would justify their shooting
  • Many of the soldiers lied about their actions
  • The events of Bloody Sunday were not premeditated
  • Northern Ireland's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, Sinn Fein, was present at the time of the violence and "probably armed with a sub-machine gun" but did not engage in "any activity that provided any of the soldiers with any justification for opening fire"
Mr McGuinness denied having a sub-machine gun. When asked about the Saville finding that it was probable that he had the weapon, he replied: "No". He said the report had cleared everybody in the city.
The head of the Army, General Sir David Richards, said he fully supported Mr Cameron's apology.
"The report leaves me in no doubt that serious mistakes and failings by officers and soldiers on that terrible day led to the deaths of 13 civilians who did nothing that could have justified their shooting," he said.
General Sir Mike Jackson, who served in the Parachute Regiment on Bloody Sunday said: "The Prime Minister made a fulsome apology and I join him in so doing."
But he said the Army's service in the 20 years after Bloody Sunday should be recognised.

Continue reading the main story Mark Devenport,
BBC NI Political Editor
No one present in Londonderry's Guildhall Square could deny that for all its time and expense the Saville Tribunal provided a moment of jubilation and vindication for the families of those killed and wounded on Bloody Sunday.
It was nothing short of extraordinary to witness thousands of nationalists roaring on David Cameron as he expressed his sorrow for what he described as the unjustifiable killings.
But whilst the report may be cathartic for Derry, the possibility of future prosecutions could further polarise relations between nationalists and unionists, who claim the concentration on Bloody Sunday represents a selective approach to the past.
So far as Westminster is concerned, Tony Blair's decision to appoint Lord Saville has been vindicated in as much as the inquiry served to bind republicans into what remained, 12 years ago, a fragile peace process.
That said, David Cameron did not just provide an unequivocal apology today - he also sounded equally unequivocal in his pledge that there will never be such an open-ended and costly inquiry again.
Reaction to Bloody Sunday report Report leaves stain on the army
"Northern Ireland is a very different place from what it was 40 years ago, not least because of this sacrifice and I ask that Lord Saville's report is seen in that context."
Stephen Pollard, a solicitor representing the soldiers said Lord Saville did not have the justification for his findings and accused him of "cherry-picking the evidence".
"There is just as much evidence for the opposite conclusion," he said.
Following the report, the decision to prosecute any individual soldier rests with Northern Ireland's Public Prosecution Service (PPS).
In a statement, the PPS said their director and Chief Constable Matt Baggott would consider the report to determine the nature and extent of any police investigations.
Referring to the agreement that witnesses to the inquiry could not incriminate themselves, the statement continued: "The undertaking given by the Attorney General in 1999 to witnesses who provided evidence to the inquiry will also require to be considered.
"It is not practical, at this stage, to say when such decisions will be taken other than to indicate that the matter will be considered as expeditiously as possible."
The report was commissioned in 1998 by the then Prime Minister Tony Blair under the auspices of former High Court judge, Lord Saville of Newdigate.
The Saville Inquiry took witness statements from hundreds of people and has become the longest-running and most expensive in British history.
It closed in 2004 with the report initially due for publication the following year.
It cost £195m and took 12 years to complete.
Thousands of people gathered outside the Guildhall to watch Prime Minister David Cameron deliver the report to Parliament on a huge screen in what was an emotional day for the city.
Earlier, crowds retraced the steps of the original marchers from the Bloody Sunday memorial in the city's Bogside close to the spot where many of the victims died.
According to BBC NI political editor Mark Devenport, while it may not have been the bloodiest day in the history of the Troubles, "the significance of that day in shaping the course of the conflict cannot be overstated".
[Image: _48082922_build.jpg] The crowd in Guildhall Square cheered "The actions of the Parachute Regiment in shooting dead 13 unarmed civil rights protesters immeasurably strengthened Irish republicans' arguments within their own community and provided the Provisional IRA with a flood of fresh recruits for its long war," he said.
Our correspondent also said Bloody Sunday set in train the suspension of the Northern Ireland government in March 1972, which led to the decades of direct rule from London.
The full process of restoring devolution was only completed in 2010.
An inquiry chaired by Lord Widgery was held in the immediate aftermath of the killings but it failed to satisfy families of the victims.
Were you in Londonderry on Bloody Sunday? What are your memories of the day? Send us your comments using the form below.
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
Saville Report: Far From Closure

[Image: bloody_sunday_mural_bogside_2004_smc.jpg?w=237&h=300]John McAnulty of Ireland’s Socialist Democracy looks at the publication of the Saville Report.
Thirty eight years of protest. Over a decade of legal activity. Over 100 million in costs. A dramatic apology in Westminster. A gathering of the great and the good in Derry. Britain accepts that 14 civil rights demonstrators in Derry were innocent people unlawfully killed.
What is the significance of the admission and apology? The word on everyone’s lips was closure. The findings would bring closure and release for the relatives of the dead. Once the psychobabble dies away many may come to doubt that this belated apology and the recitation of facts they already knew are enough to wipe away the murder by a state of its citizens after 38 years of lies and coverup. In any case it is inconceivable that the resources of the Saville report were expended in the interests of the relatives.
David Cameron has a more straightforward political and pragmatic explanation. The time and money invested in the report are well worthwhile because it spells closure not just for the relatives, but for everyone. And not closure in the sense of a feeling of release. No. Closure means finis – the end. No more prying and poking into the role of the British in Ireland. No more awkward questions. We are in a new and different era. The Troubles are behind us and we must never look back.
As with so much else connected with the peace process, closure is asymmetric. Cameron makes it clear that any republicans not washed clean by the peace deal will still be pursued. On the other hand, we can never expect to hear any admission about the Dublin-Monaghan bombings or any explanation as to why the members of the Loyalist gang that killed lawyer Pat Finucaine were also simultaneously agents of the British state.
Leaving that aside, is Cameron correct? Is the Saville report a firm foundation for a new era in Ireland?
What the report does is lead us step-by-step, bullet-by-bullet, through a day’s killing. That walk-through is enough to exonerate the victims and expose the paratroopers as killers. What the report doesn’t do, in all the endless pages of testimony, is explain why the marchers were killed.
A nebulous picture is drawn of the para’s leader breaking discipline and ordering his men into the Bogside in defiance of policy and of individual soldiers then going berserk. “Wilford ignored orders from his brigadier that he should not order troops beyond a barrier deeper into the Bogside”, the report said. The issue of Colonel Wilford’s action is not pursued. General, then adjutant, Michael Jackson emerges unscathed despite having penned the account of soldiers fighting for their lives that became officially adopted as the Widgery whitewash.
We are asked to believe that members of the British army’s elite unit, trained to obey without question, behaved on that one day as a rabble. We are asked to believe that soldier F, who killed four demonstrators on Bloody Sunday, went on to serve out a full career as a reliable servant of state policy, having gone berserk on one single day, just as his fellow soldiers choose the same day to break the straightjacket of their training.
On some aspects Saville is crystal clear. The army high command, the cabinet, the British state – all are innocent. Saville exonerates the army’s then commander of land forces in Northern Ireland, General Robert Ford, of any blame. It notes that he had agreed to deploy the Parachute Regiment in the city against the advice of a senior police officer in Derry. The report concluded that 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”.
At this point the report becomes a farce. Only by narrowing his vision down to single square centimeters of the Bogside is Saville able to ignore the evidence that the policy of the British state was to break up the mass civil rights protests by whatever means necessary.
In the run-up to Bloody Sunday the Unionist government openly lobbied the British to use decisive force and quickly smash civil rights before the local administration fell. The British Government held a special cabinet meeting to agree policy. In the aftermath of the meeting the Paras were moved to Derry. In the days before Bloody Sunday they beat into the ground thousands of demonstrators at Magilligan. They had carried out a drawn – out program of assassination in Ballymurphy before the transfer to Derry.
It is not as if British actions changed after Bloody Sunday. By any standards the Troubles were a dirty war involving ambush, assassination, mass terror and the formation of Loyalist death squads organized and armed by the state and operating with relative impunity. These crimes will be informally admitted by the British, justified by the necessity to suppress an armed rising. It’s not a defence that applies to the killing of unarmed demonstrators.
The significance of Bloody Sunday, the reason that fourteen people died, is because the British state had decided that it was not in its interests to allow civil rights in the North of Ireland. Contrary to statements made later as a foundation to the peace process, Britain has very considerable “selfish, strategic and economic” interests in Ireland. It considers the best way of defending those interests the continuation of its partial occupation. That requires a mass unionist base and the continuation of partition, ruling out any democratic solution.
The reason that the Saville report does not represent closure is because British policy has not changed. Having drowned democracy in blood, they spilt rivers of blood to construct a new dispensation based, not on democratic rights, but on sectarian rights. The current success of that policy is witnessed by the cheers of their former opponents as they say sorry and close the book. However the settlement is not a solution. Claims of closure do not mark finis.
On the morning of Bloody Sunday many nationalist workers believed that peaceful protest could win democracy. They were wrong. By the end of the day many believed that a militarist solution, the triumph of the will, would bring a solution. They were wrong.
Democracy in Ireland is not possible within the confines of capitalism and imperialism. Closure is not yet and we must strive to build a working class movement that will make it possible.
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
Remarkable how quiet its gone following the long-awaited publication of the Saville Report. The relatives of the victims were given what they most wanted - an official admission that all those killed and injured were not at fault.

Look at the report closely however because, in spite of the hand-wringing and crocodile tears over its cost and extended gestation period, it really is a classic example of just how the British Establishment protects those it has initiated into it's higher degrees. Specifically in this case, General Sir Mike Jackson, former Chief of the General Staff and a Parachute Regiment Captain, second in command to the reports main fall-guy on Bloody Sunday. As usual, the lower orders take the blame with, in this case and with great reluctance, a sacrificial Lt. Colonel - one Derek Wilford. ALL other officers and politicians were completely exonerated.

Have a look at this article by Eamon McCann. The full article is available here and it's my bold-facing
Quote:Cameron might have found it more difficult to disown those involved had Saville included in his list of culprits, say, Major General Robert Ford, Commander of Land Forces, Northern Ireland, at the time, or Captain Michael Jackson, second-in-command to Wilford on the day.

Ford, second in seniority in the North in 1972, commissioned the Bloody Sunday battle plan, Operation Forecast, and ordered the paras to Derry to carry it out. In the weeks before Bloody Sunday he 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 7 1972, Ford declared himself “disturbed” by the attitude of army and police chiefs in Derry, and added: “I am coming to the conclusion that the minimum force necessary to achieve a restoration of law and order is to shoot selected ringleaders amongst the DYH (Derry Young Hooligans).”

Ford took the decision to deploy the paras six days before Bloody Sunday, overruling a message the same day from Derry commander Brigadier Pat MacLellan indicating that he and local police chief Frank Lagan believed that any direct confrontation with the civil rights marchers should be avoided. Ford held to the plan in face of strongly-expressed opposition from other senior Derry-based officers, too. On the day, although with no operational role, he travelled to Derry and took up position at the edge of the Bogside, shouting “Go on the paras!” as they ran past him through a barbed-wire barricade towards the Rossville Street killing ground.

Saville suggests that Wilford allowed his soldiers in the Bogside to exceed MacLellan’s orders “not to fight a running battle”. But nowhere in the report is it considered whether Wilford and the paras might have had reason to believe or suspect that MacLellan’s orders need not be regarded in all the circumstances as binding. The possibility that Ford’s decisions in advance and comportment on the day played a part in the way matters developed is brusquely dismissed: 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,” Saville declares in chapter four of his Report’s first volume.

In the same chapter, Saville acquits British political and military leaders of 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 is remarkable. Numerous incidents over the previous year might have suggested toleration, at the least, of unjustified force. The most egregious had happened six months before Bloody Sunday when the First Paras were involved in killing 11 unarmed civilians over three days in Ballymurphy in west Belfast. Newspapers of the period, particularly Nationalist newspapers, were carrying regular complaints, many of them plausible, of unjustified and sometimes lethal violence by soldiers against civilians. The Parachute Regiment figured prominently in these claims. Toleration of unjustified force might have been inferred from, for example, the fact that no inquiry had been held into the Ballymurphy massacre nor any para disciplined or statement issued expressing regret.

Saville dismissal of the suggestion of a “culture of tolerance” would be unremarkable if by “evidence” he meant direct testimony to his Inquiry. He had at an early stage declined to examine prior events in the North on the reasonable ground 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. But this makes the statement that, “We found no evidence…” puzzling: the Tribunal had decided not to gather such evidence.

Many who read through the body of the report will be puzzled, too, by Saville’s acceptance of the explanation eventually offered by Captain Jackson of his role in compiling the “shot-list” which formed the basis of the initial cover-up of the killings.

Jackson rose high in the ranks after Bloody Sunday. He was Nato commander in the Balkans and subsequently Chief of the General Staff – Britain’s number one soldier.

Jackson had been present in the Bogside during the Bloody Sunday shooting. Remarkably, he didn’t see anyone shooting or being shot. He had provided the Tribunal with a statement detailing his movements before taking the witness stand in London in April 2003. Nowhere in this statement or in his April evidence did he refer to compiling the shot-list or other documents giving a version of what had happened. His role emerged the following month during evidence from Major Ted Loden who described how, late in the afternoon of Bloody Sunday, he had taken statements from the shooters and plotted map references showing the trajectory of their shots. However, when a number of documents including the original of the shot-list were then produced, the list turned out to be not in Loden’s handwriting but in the handwriting of the now Chief of Staff of the British Army. How could this have come about, Loden was asked. “Well, I cannot answer that question,” came the reply.

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 building to hit their targets. All the targets were identified as gunmen or nail or petrol bombers.

The other documents in the Chief of Staff’s hand were personal accounts of the day’s events by Wilford, the three para company commanders present and the battalion intelligence officer.

Recalled to the stand in October 2003, Jackson agreed that he must have written the documents. He had recovered a “vague memory” of them, he said, after the shot-list and the accounts of his colleagues had been discovered by the Inquiry. Earlier, it had entirely slipped his mind that he had produced by his own hand within hours of the massacre a detailed version of Bloody Sunday in which no British soldier did anything wrong and the victims had been to blame for their own injuries or deaths.

In their statements to the Inquiry, none of the soldiers whose shots were included on the list recalled being interviewed by either Loden or Jackson about their firing. None of the officers whose personal accounts had been written out by Jackson had any memory of the circumstances in which this had happened or of it happening at all.

Under questioning, Jackson found himself badly hampered by poor memory. On more than 20 occasions, he used phrases along the lines, “I cannot remember,” “I do not recall,” “I have only a very vague memory.”

Saville resolves one contradiction 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 he could offer no explanation why he might have done this or recall who had asked or ordered him to do so. Loden’s own list has never been found.
In Volume 8 of the Report, Saville rejects suggestions from the families’ lawyers 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, although it is not explained exactly how this conspiracy is said to have worked.”

Having suggested that it was not clear how a cover-up based on the documents might have worked, Saville goes on to say that, “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”. Elsewhere, he 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.”
It doesn’t seem to have occurred to Saville that this was the conspiracy in action.

Had Saville seen it differently, had he damned Jackson for orchestrating the cover-up of mass murder, Cameron could not have projected the guilty men of Bloody Sunday as rogue elements whose reprehensible behaviour reflected not at all on the British army as a whole.

The Bloody Sunday report let the Brits off the hook big-time and facilitated the coming together of the Green Tories of Irish Nationalism and the True Blues of monarchist Britain. When Betty the Brit makes her way along O’Connell Street next year, she’ll have the subtlety of Saville to thank.
Peter Presland

".....there is something far worse than Nazism, and that is the hubris of the Anglo-American fraternities, whose routine is to incite indigenous monsters to war, and steer the pandemonium to further their imperial aims"
Guido Preparata. Preface to 'Conjuring Hitler'[size=12][size=12]
"Never believe anything until it has been officially denied"
Claud Cockburn

Jackson follows in a long military tradition.

Colin Powell was involved in the cover up of My Lai and rewarded with the Chairmanship of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

As well as running covert assassination squads, Stanley McChrystal covered up the murky "friendly fire" death of Pat Tillman, warning the White House that it "might cause public embarrassment if the circumstances of Corporal Tillman's death become public."

Nothing to see here....
"It means this War was never political at all, the politics was all theatre, all just to keep the people distracted...."
"Proverbs for Paranoids 4: You hide, They seek."
"They are in Love. Fuck the War."

Gravity's Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon

"Ccollanan Pachacamac ricuy auccacunac yahuarniy hichascancuta."
The last words of the last Inka, Tupac Amaru, led to the gallows by men of god & dogs of war

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