Sunday November 13, 1887: London-
Sunday April 13 1919: Amritsar, Punjab-
Following the massacre, the Tipperary-
Sunday, November 21 1920: Dublin-
PURPORTED PHOTO OF THECAIRO GANG
Later that afternoon, the RIC opens fire on a crowd watching a Gaelic football match in Croke Park, murdering fourteen civilians. That evening, three IRA suspects, including two high-
Sunday, January 30, 1972: Derry-
INTERNMENT CAMP, NORTHERN IRELAND
At the second government inquiry into Bloody Sunday begun in 1998 under Lord Mark Saville, the paratrooper known as Soldier 027, granted immunity and testifying anonymously, said he had done things he was "ashamed" of in Belfast. He said a practice British soldiers nicknamed the "beasting" of civilians was common practice. "More men than I can remember took the severest of beatings at our hands" he said.
"Many of the blokes (Paras) were getting rich from the wallets of people we searched in hundreds daily," he said. "In fact, they (civilians) often, as soon as they were asked to go up a back alley, would produce all the money they had and offer it to us by way of appeasement".
One incident which, he said, went into Parachute Regiment "folklore" concerned Corporal 036 who, "having eaten in a Chinese restaurant in Bangor, decided he was going to walk out without paying. A Chinese waiter followed him out, brandishing a chair. He shot him with a 9mm Browning, ran to a pub where he knew friends (Lance Corporal F and soldier G) were drinking, gave them the pistol and continued with his night out." Soldiers F and G returned the weapon to the barracks Armorer. Soldier 027 said since the investigation had no evidence it "came to nothing. I could recite many stories of a similar nature..."
027 was witness to other notorious incidents in Belfast, including the November 4, 1971 blinding of Emma Groves, 51, mother of 11, who played a recording of "Four Green Fields" in protest as British soldiers ransacked neighbors' homes. She was shot by a soldier who aimed a rubber baton launcher at her through the window of her home at close range (8 yards). The round, nearly 1/3 pound of hard rubber traveling 136 mph, struck Mrs. Groves in the face, blinding her for life. The soldier who shot her was of course never charged. Before her death in 2007, Emma Groves had campaigned for years to ban plastic bullets, and along with Clara Reilly, founded the United Campaign Against Plastic Bullets.
When it became known that he would be testifying at the Saville Inquiry, soldier 027 received death threats and was placed in a witness protection program. His landlord was badly beaten by a man who warned that the former paratrooper faced "dire consequences" if he gave evidence to Saville. 027 is likely living now somewhere outside England.
The Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (NICRA) was formed in 1967 to oppose anti-
Some marchers had a sense of foreboding about Sunday because paratroops at Magilligan Strand had warned "with some belligerence" they would: "see them next week". NICRA was anxious to avoid a repetition of Ballymurphy and Magilligan, and announced "special emphasis on the necessity for a peaceful incident-
Faulkner, who had introduced internment, now demanded that Britain smash the barriers residents had erected around the Free Derry, "no go" Catholic areas to stop raids by soldiers, police and Orange Protestant gangs.
Sir Robert Ford was commander of land forces, the Army's second in command in Northern Ireland. Ford had recently been honored by the Queen with a CBE (Commander of the British Empire). He was later named Knight Grand Cross, Order of the Bath (GCB) and served as Aide de Camp General to the Queen. Three weeks before Bloody Sunday Sir Robert met with Derry merchants concerned lest rioting occur in the city center and damage their shops. He then wrote a secret memo to his superior, General Officer Commanding (GOC) Sir Harry Tuzo, complaining that soldiers were standing and taking hails of missiles like "Aunt Sallies". His chilling solution: “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), after clear warnings have been issued”.
Six days prior to Bloody Sunday General Ford overruled the objections of Derry commander Brigadier Pat MacLellan, and police chief Frank Lagan to bringing in the Paras. Other senior Derry officers expressed similar alarm. One even phoned a military contact in London to try to persuade Chief of General Staff Sir Michael Carver to intervene.
On Thursday, January 27, the Democratic Unionist Association in Derry, the youth wing of Ian Paisley's Democratic Unionist Party (newly renamed from the more descriptive, but less p.c. label, 'Protestant Unionist Party') defiantly announced their intention to hold a public "religious rally" Sunday at Guildhall Square, the announced end point of the NICRA march. Their Vice-
Friday, January 28, a British cabinet committee met at 10 Downing Street, London, and approved security plans for the march. Lord Gifford QC, representing the family of one of the victims, told the inquiry facts suggested there was a plan to shoot unarmed civilians and this was known by both Prime Ministers Sir Edward Heath and Brian Faulkner. He further alleged that senior military advisers also knew the army intended to open fire on protesters.
On Saturday the British Army and police issued a joint statement warning that any violence the next day would be blamed on NICRA. Rioting that day in William Street ended with two teenagers wounded by army gunfire. Soldier 027 testified that paratroopers that evening boasted about getting “kills” when they arrived in Derry. He described driving from Belfast to Derry as dum-
Sunday January 30, 1972: The Paratroop Regiment arrives in Derry. Morning papers announce the Protestant rally has been called off at the last minute. Rev. McClelland states ominously: "We were approached by the Government and given assurances that the Civil Rights march would be halted -
CS gas, water cannon, rubber bullets, internment and martial law had failed to stop Catholic protest. The stage was now set for a showdown between the British government and its Irish Catholic citizens.
A group of about 10,000 began the march, their numbers doubling along the 3-
General Ford, though he had no operational role, travelled to Derry and stood at the edge of the Bogside behind Barrier 14 shouting "Go on the paras!" as they charged through a barricade towards what became the Rossville Street killing ground.
GENERAL SIR RICHARD FORD ON BLOODY SUNDAY
Ford was the most senior officer on the ground on Bloody Sunday. He told the inquiry he did not order the Parachute Regiment into the Bogside on Bloody Sunday and claimed to have been "mistaken" when he told a journalist in 1984 that he had instructed Brigadier Pat McLellan to "get a move on" in sending the paratroopers in.
Soldier 027: "I can no longer recall the order of fire or who fell first, but I do remember that when we first appeared, darkened faces, sweat and aggression, brandishing rifles, the crowd stopped immediately in their tracks, turned to face us and raised their hands. This is the way they were standing when they were shot.”
The crowd fled from the Paras. Jackie Duddy 17, a young club boxer and uncle of now retired middleweight boxing champion John Duddy, is the first to be murdered. He was running alongside Father (later Bishop) Daly when he was shot from behind by Private R. "I can remember him holding my hand and squeezing it", said Daly. "I knelt beside him and said, 'Look son, we've got to get you out,' but he was dead." Daly administered last rites.
Other snipers begin firing down from the city's walls as Saracen armored cars move in. Soldier 027: One paratrooper leapt out of an armored vehicle and started firing immediately at some 40 civilians “running in an effort to get away. Soldier H fired from the hip… at a range of 20 yards. The bullet passed through one man and into another and they both fell, one dead and one wounded…. He then moved forward and fired again, killing the wounded man." Soldier 'H' fired twenty two shots on Bloody Sunday.
JACKIE DUDDY, 17, THE FIRST TO DIE
Anyone who moves, whether holding their hands in the air or waving a white flag to go to the aid of the dying, is shot down.
Mickey Kelly,17, the same age as five others murdered that day, is shot in his stomach while attempting to help one of those injured. Said his brother John: "He'd never been at a march or a riot. He wasn't as streetwise as some lads. He only went to the march for the craic. He'd no interest in politics. He was training to be a sewing machine mechanic in Belfast but he lived for coming back to Derry at weekends and seeing his pigeons and his dog Bingo".
John Kelly makes plain that Britain destroyed many more lives that day than those of the 14 murdered marchers: “When the shooting started, my mother went looking for Mickey. She had 13 children and she loved us all but Mickey had nearly died when he was three so she was very protective of him. When his body came home, we put the coffin in the back bedroom but my mother ran in and lifted Mickey out of it. She’d been saving for a car for him. She used the money to buy a headstone instead. Once, she was found wandering to the cemetery in the snow carrying blankets. She said she was going to the grave to keep Mickey warm."
"She was there for the start of the Saville Inquiry... But she became ill in 2003, and she would ask on a daily basis what was happening about Michael. MICHAEL KELLY,17 She died in June 2004, but a few weeks before I lied to her and I told her the case was won and they'd said Michael was innocent, so she died happy. She said she wanted all the bits and pieces belonging to Michael buried in the coffin with her. Everything was put in -
Despite a cease-
On January 31, the day after Bloody Sunday, the British government responded to the public outcry over the killings by announcing a Tribunal of Inquiry under a single judge, Lord Chief Justice, Baron John Widgery, who the previous April, had been granted a life peerage by the Queen.
On February 2 an angry crowd of some 20 to 30 thousand Irish besieged the British embassy in Dublin, and burned it to the ground, halting efforts by firefighters to extinguish the blaze.
BRITISH EMBASSY IN DUBLIN, BURNING
Widgery decided at the outset to hold his inquiry in Coleraine, a Protestant town 30 miles outside majority Catholic Derry, claiming the move was "for reasons of security and convenience" to soldiers testifying. Most soldiers were not Northern Ireland residents and were flown in, testified incognito from behind screens, and left again. Resident civilians were afforded no such protection. For many Derry witnesses, Coleraine was a hostile venue.
The Tribunal did not visit the scene of any of the shootings; did not order any engineers' reports of the locations of the shootings; did not even bother to take statements from shooting victims still in the hospital.
The soldiers simply claimed they were fired upon first and insisted every one they targeted was attacking a soldier with nail, petrol or acid bombs. Baron Widgery produced his report in April 1972, just eleven weeks after Bloody Sunday. The report supported the Army's account. Widgery cleared both soldiers and British authorities of blame, except to say that soldiers' "firing bordered on the reckless".
The paratroops are an elite unit; Queen Elizabeth's son, Prince Charles, is Colonel in Chief. Were they "out of control" or following orders? Fourteen marchers were shot dead while only 15 received non-
It was not until August 21, 1973, 16 months after the Widgery Tribunal ended, that the inquest into 'Bloody Sunday' returned an open verdict on the deaths, with presiding Londonderry City coroner Major Hubert O'Neill accusing the British army: "These people may have been taking part in a march that was banned but that does not justify the troops coming in and firing live rounds indiscriminately. I would say without hesitation that it was sheer, unadulterated murder. It was murder.”
Lord Widgery's conclusions did not coincide with the evidence produced by his own inquiry, and the victims' families continued to campaign for Britain to hold an independent inquiry, own up to the truth, and exonerate those who were shot and killed.
In October 1972, only nine months after Bloody Sunday, Queen Elizabeth appointed Colonel Derek Wilford, commander of 1 Para that day, an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE). And the victims' families had to wait 26 long years before Britain, under Tony Blair, finally agreed in 1998 to open another inquiry.
Many were convinced the second inquiry would be another whitewash, since, rather than choosing judges independent of the crown, the government appointed Lord Mark Oliver Saville, Baron Saville of Newdigate, an ex-
The Saville Inquiry was launched February 2, 1998. The Belfast Agreement for peace and IRA decommissioning in Northern Ireland was signed two months later on April 10.
This inquiry lasted not just eleven weeks, but dragged on for fully twelve years. Its conclusions were not published until June 15, 2010. During that time two of the original judges resigned for personal reasons, and decisions of the tribunal, including that the accused could not testify anonymously, were overruled by Britain's Supreme Court. That court also ruled that soldiers would not be required to testify in Derry. Once again, witnesses for those murdered were not given the same anonymity as the soldiers, and made to testify in hostile surroundings.
Lance Corporal F agreed that he killed four people, Michael Kelly, Barney McGuigan, Paddy Doherty and another man. Asked why he shot them he replied: "As I refer to my statements, the people I shot are the petrol bombers or a person who had a weapon." The report also stated it was "more likely than not" that soldiers F or H killed William McKinney and that soldier G or H fired at Jim Wray as he lay mortally wounded on the ground. Soldier J told the inquiry he fired at two nail-
Soldier L or M shot Kevin McElhinney as he was lay crawling away from the soldiers.
Soldier P told the inquiry he did not remember killing two people and did not even remember firing his rifle. At the earlier Widgery Tribunal, he testified he had shot a nail bomber and a man with a pistol.
The report said that Soldier R of mortar platoon was "probably" the soldier who shot Jackie Duddy. Soldier S said he believed he was justified in firing 12 shots, supposedly at a man at the Rossville Flats he claimed was shooting at him.
But a different version emerged the next month as Major Ted Loden gave evidence. Loden described how, late in the afternoon of Bloody Sunday, he took statements from the shooters and plotted map references showing the location of the shooters and their targets, and noted each soldier's account of why he had fired. Loden had listed 14 "engagements."
Then a soldier by chance found the handwritten ‘shot list’, left on a copy machine at 8th Brigade offices. But, when "the Loden shot list" and other documents were produced in court, it turned out they were not in Loden's handwriting at all. They were in fact in the hand of Sir Michael Jackson, now chief of staff of the British Army. When asked for an explanation of how this could have come about, Loden replied: "Well, I cannot answer that question."
None of the shots described in Jackson's handwritten list corresponded to any of the shots which evidence had proved had actually been fired. Some of the trajectories listed would have bullets reaching the victims through solid brick buildings.
The other documents uncovered were personal accounts of the day's events by Colonel Wilford (Jackson's immediate superior on that day) by Loden, by two other Para company commanders and by the battalion intelligence officer. All of these accounts turned out to also be in Jackson's hand. And none of the documents mentioned any debriefing sessions with Wilford, Loden or the others from which the statements, if authentic, must have been derived.
MR. McGUIGAN, 41, MURDERED
Sir Michael Jackson was recalled to the stand in October 2003. He explained that he had "forgotten" about these documents when giving evidence six months earlier, but had now recovered a "vague memory" after hearing they had been produced to the inquiry. Under questioning, Jackson's bout of poor memory worsened. He answered close to two dozen questions with phrases like "I cannot remember," or "I do not recall". Sir Mike tried to explain that he must have copied Loden's shot list verbatim, but could offer no explanation as to when he did so or why. Loden's original list was never found.
Yet Saville avoided the conclusion that the Jackson documents and shot list were evidence of a conspiracy to cover up the truth of the killings, with Sir Michael Jackson at the heart of it.
SIR MICHAEL JACKSON, GCB, CBE, DSO, DL
In 2004 Queen Elizabeth promoted Jackson to Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath (GCB). At the same time she honored another British paratrooper who had given anonymous testimony to the Saville Inquiry, as a Member of the British Empire (MBE). Clearly she was impressed with their services to the crown.
John Kelly: "This man was screened at Saville in London and yet can come out and accept a medal openly from the Queen. That is a bit rich. The fact is that at an open and public tribunal he didn't have the guts to show his face. Yet the big contrast here is that he is willing to have his name printed in a public list. The authorities must have known his history and background."
Two Saville witnesses testified they had been warned by a soldier and a telephone technician at RUC headquarters in Derry to stay away from the civil rights march because the paratroopers would be “coming in shooting”, to “kill people”.
On May 29, 2007 General Sir Mike Jackson, second-
Former BBC television journalist Peter Stewart told the tribunal he overheard Colonel Derek Wilford, CO of the Paras report to General Sir Robert Ford that day saying he was sorry because two bodies had been found and neither of them had a weapon. Ford's reply was to give Wilford a pat on the shoulder, telling him, "Well done!" There's no indication that Queen Elizabeth thought Bloody Sunday any less capital. After Bloody Sunday she added Sir Robert to her very next honors list in 1973 as CB, Order of the Bath. That should not be surprising, since anti-
As for General Sir Robert Cyril Ford GCB CBE: when his memo to GOC Tuzo urging: "that the minimum force necessary to achieve a restoration of law and order is to shoot selected ringleaders" was revealed at the Saville Inquiry, General Ford claimed not to remember having written it. But under questioning, Sir Robert testified his memo was not recommending that citizens be killed, pointing out that "shoot and kill are obviously different words". But he grudgingly agreed that if soldiers acted on his suggestion that ringleaders be shot, people might easily die. He also admitted his suggestion was outside the Army's rules of engagement but insisted that despite the fact that fourteen people actually were shot and killed, it was not due to the advice offered in his memo. He then offered his opinion that using a .22 bullet would have been a more "marginally lethal" option than the 7.62mm army issue bullets used, and revealed such special weapons had indeed been developed by the Ministry of Defense (MOD) for public use in Northern Ireland at the request of his predecessor.
Inquiry counsel Christopher Clarke QC pointed out to the general that soldiers are trained to "shoot-
Alas, hard ballistic evidence had been made unavailable. At the conclusion of the Widgery Tribunal in 1972, 29 rifles identified as fired by British soldiers during the events of Bloody Sunday were carefully labeled and stored away by the MOD. In September 1999 the Saville Inquiry was told that just days before the inquiry began, 10 of those original rifles had been "sold" and 14 more "scrapped". Miss Eilish MacDermott QC, appearing for relatives of victim Patrick Doherty, asked what hope was there of a "full disclosure" from the army after it ordered the destruction of 14 rifles used that day. The Ministry then gave the inquiry its assurance that the five rifles remaining were now secured, and access to them strictly controlled. Then, four months later in January 2000 the MOD reveled it had destroyed two more of the "secured" rifles "by mistake''. Other British Army evidence from Bloody Sunday, including over 1,000 army photographs and helicopter video footage, was never made available.
Nonetheless, the Saville Report in 2011 issued its carefully worded conclusion about the official British plan to stop the civil rights campaign: "Neither the UK nor Northern Ireland governments planned or foresaw the use of unnecessary lethal force". That begs the question: by insisting on calling in the Paratroop Regiment, fresh from murdering 11 unarmed civilians in Belfast, and severely beating several others at Magilligan Strand, had the governments planned on using necessary lethal force?
In contrast to the Lord Widgery Tribunal's total whitewash, Lord Saville's inquiry might be called a ’greywash'. Saville did conclude that that the soldiers' killing and wounding of the civil rights marchers had been "unjustified and unjustifiable". On the day of publication Prime Minister David Cameron, standing in the House of Commons, echoed that judgment in his apology. But had Lord Saville gone an inch beyond placing blame for Bloody Sunday on one undisciplined middle-
John Kelly had waited 38 years to hear Cameron's words: “I also want the soldier who murdered my brother and whom ballistic tests link to the deaths of three others -
Private G shot Gerard McKinney and his shot passed through McKinney and mortally wounded Gerald Donaghey. Gerald McKinney was standing stock still with his hands above his head and a soldier just walks up to him and shoots him in the chest at pointblank range. Kevin McElhinney is on his hands and knees when murdered. Alexander Nash, 52, searching frantically for his son, William, 19, finds him shot, lying next to a barricade. As he cradles him in his arms, the father is shot as well.
Kate Nash: "It wasn't enough for the soldiers to murder my brother. They mutilated his body and stole from him. A ring was taken from his finger and a cross and chain from his neck. I'm not a hard person but I'll never forgive the Paras. I want those who murdered my brother and the others prosecuted and jailed. Nazi war criminals are still being hunted."
Lord Saville's verdict is that Wilford breached orders by sending his men into the Bogside to arrest rioters. And along with the readiness of some of those troops to kill, it explains Bloody Sunday as fully as possible.
The fact that not one soldier was ever disciplined or charged implies that the British government refused to accept plain facts universally accepted by everyone, save their loyalist surrogates.
Bishop Daly: "What really made Bloody Sunday so obscene was the fact that people afterwards, at the highest level of British justice, justified it."
The report also concluded that the first shot in the march area was fired by British soldiers with no warning to civilians.
The BBC's legal affairs correspondent Clive Coleman said despite the findings, it would not be enough to bring prosecutions. He said providing sufficient evidence to support a reasonable prospect of conviction was not an easy task after 38 years."If any defendant believes that the passage of time makes a fair trial impossible, they could argue the prosecution was an abuse of process." I would not argue with that. Britain's handling of the affair from the very start has been an abuse of process.
Wilford left the army 10 years later and says he feels he was made a scapegoat. He attended a secret briefing two days before Bloody Sunday and inquired: "What happens if there is shooting?" He never got a reply. He believes his failure to pursue this question was his gravest mistake. "I suppose, in fact, it has made me rather anti-
And when the Saville Report was published, both RTE and BBC radio reported that Wilford was dead. It turned out he had decided to leave England, moving to Belgium where he lives near a quiet village, reportedly teaching fine art to US soldiers at an army base nearby.
LIEUTENANT COLONEL DEREK WILFORD
APPOINTED TO THE ORDER OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE, OBE BY
QUEEN ELIZABETH, ON OCTOBER 3rd 1972 IN THE FIRST QUEENS LIST FOLLOWING BLOODY SUNDAY.
Saville criticized Sir Robert Ford for deploying paratroops to arrest rioters, but came short of labeling him a party to the murders: "...he did not know his decision would result in soldiers firing unjustifiably." Saville instead ruled that the massacre was caused by soldiers who lost self control, and forgot or ignored instructions and training.
Brigadier General Andrew MacLennan, the man in charge of the Army's operation on Bloody Sunday testified he may have chosen the wrong moment to send the Parachute Regiment into the Bogside. Incredibly, MacLennan also claimed he was not even aware of the details of the plan being used by the "shock troops" he was ordering in.
Lord Saville also ruled that as to charges that the NI or UK governments "tolerated if not encouraged the use of unjustified lethal force... We found no evidence of such toleration or encouragement." That, despite the fact that just five months prior to Bloody Sunday the Paras were guilty of shooting to death 11 unarmed civilians in Ballymurphy, West Belfast.
You may have seen a quote attributed to Joseph Goebbels reading: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it... Truth is the greatest enemy of the state.” But that quote seems to have been doctored over the years in the English translation. What Herr Goebbels actually said about "the big lie" was this: "The essential English leadership secret does not depend on particular intelligence. Rather, it depends on a remarkably stupid thick-
*Note: Former Lieutenant Governor of India, O'Dwyer lived to age 75, when he was was shot dead at a meeting of the Royal Central Asian Society in Caxton Hall, London on 13 March 1940, by a Punjabi revolutionary, Udham Singh, in retaliation for Amritsar. Singh was tried, convicted and hanged. Unlike Ireland, India finally achieved its full independence 65 years ago, August 15th, 1947.
A CIVIL RIGHTS BANNER WAS USED TO COVER VICTIMS MURDERED ON BLOODY SUNDAY
BERNADETTE DEVLIN, IRISH CIVIL RIGHTS ICON, SPEAKS AT A 2013 MEMORIAL MARCH JANUARY 29, HONORING THE 14 INNOCENT MARCHERS MURDERED ON BLOODY SUNDAY AND THEIR FAMILIES. Bernadette and her husband were victims of a home invasion by a Protestant death squad gang, abetted by British Paratroops and police. She survived despite being riddled with bullets and near death. She rose before the families of Bloody Sunday victims and supporters of civil rights for the whole island of Ireland, and gave, I believe, the most profound, heartfelt and penetrating speech of her life. Who could better express the pain and injustice of Britain’s malevolent regime in Northern Ireland?
© Mike Morley 2013
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