Posted by Gerry Adams
Last month this blog stood in the
At the time the dead were labelled as terrorists by the British government. The British system and to its shame much of the British media, accused those who had been shot of being ‘gunmen’ and ‘bombers’. Lies were told and a cover-up concocted and the British establishment closed ranks to defend the actions of its Army. That lie persisted for decades.
The British Prime Minister David Cameron apologised for what happened. I am sure the words of regret and remorse he made that day were heartfelt and the people of
He was wrong. Bloody Sunday did define the British Army’s role in the north. In Ballymurphy six months earlier the same Regiment – the Paras –shot dead 11 innocent victims; in Springhill five month later they shot dead 5 more. The victims were accused of being ‘gunmen’ or in one case a ‘gunwoman’.
On Friday in a welcome development the Catholioc Bishop of Down and Connor gave the families of the Ballymurphy Massacre archive documents, including eye witness statement from Church records of the time. They validate the families case.The Ballymurphy and Springhill killings were par for the course for the British Army.
In countless actions over decades of war the British Army and RUC strategy employed shoot-to-kill operations; plastic bullets; mass raids on homes; torture; curfews and intimidation, and collusion between state forces and unionist death squads, to kill many hundreds of citizens and tried to intimidate a whole community.
The full resources of the British state including legal, judicial, and propaganda were brought to bear. It was claimed that victims were gunmen or women whose weapons were spirited away by hostile crowds; or who made actions which gave the soldiers cause to believe they were armed or a threat; or who ran away from patrols justifying their being shot; while others were accused of attacking patrols or trying to run them down in cars. The truth is still denied to relatives in many of these cases. It was also often said that the north was the British states training ground for its military and intelligence system.
The truth of that is evident in the revelations contained in some of the 90,000
The files are from a variety of NATO military sources operating in
The Wikileaks documents provide previously unreported actions in which Afghan civilians were killed or wounded. In 144 incidents detailed almost 200 civilians were killed and hundreds more injured. This is almost certainly a serious underestimate of the true scale of civilian casualties.
The Wikileaks files provide a list of actions involving the British Army. These are some.
November 15th 2006: In
October/November 2007: a cluster of shootings by British soldiers in
March 12th 2008:
November 19th 2008: Marine Commandos fire ‘warning shots’ at a vehicle. They kill a child.
January 19th 2009: Marine Commandos use a drone to attack the Taliban. Two children are wounded.
January 27th 2009: Marine Commandos shoot at two people ’watching the patrol’. A man and a child are wounded.
May 19th 2009: Ghurkhas call in air strike and kill 8 civilians and destroy a family compound.
September 30th 2009:
November 10th 2009:
When asked to respond to these accusations the British Ministry of Defence said: ‘We are currently examining our records to establish the facts in the alleged casualty incidents raised.’
The British Army is not alone in carrying out these kind of actions. French troops shot at a bus full of children killing 8. A
Human Rights Watch which reported on the war in the north of Ireland and is now doing similar work in Afghanistan said: ‘These files bring to light what’s been a consistent trend by US and NATO forces: the concealment of civilian deaths.’
Also revealed is the existence of Taskforce 373 – a covert operations unit whose task is to ‘remove’ the enemy. All of this just scratches the surface of another dirty war that is being fought using modern versions of old strategies and techniques, and is failing.
Will the publication of the battlefield and intelligence documents by Wikileaks make a difference? ‘None’, according to the British Foreign Secretary William Hague.
His retort could just as easily have come from the mouth of Reginald Maudling or William Whitelaw or Roy Mason or Tom King or any of the previous British Ministers who had responsibility for prosecuting the British war in
A former Commander of the British Army in Afghanisatan Colonel Richard Kemp recently claimed that the British Army won the war in
Gerry Adams has every right to criticize the British military and their actions in
His comments regarding the British army’s involvement in the current war in