Army Northern Ireland veterans 'stitched up and sold down the river'

One of the more shameful acts of David Cameron's 'Conservative' government was to arrange for Her Majesty the Queen to shake the blood-drenched hand of former IRA gunman Martin McGuinness during her Diamond Jubilee visit to Belfast in June 2012.

The monarch and the terrorist, Belfast, June 2012.

It was symbolic of the British government's concessions to IRA/Sinn Féin in the years following the Good Friday Agreement of April 1998, including a de facto amnesty to scores of IRA terrorists implicated in the Northern Ireland 'Troubles'.

Unfortunately, former British soldiers who risked their lives keeping the peace in that war-torn province were denied any such leniency, indeed some are still being hounded by left-wing lawyers and politicians.

Nearly half a century after the event, 17 former members of the Parachute Regiment are under investigation for their involvement in so-called Bloody Sunday, when 28 civilian protesters were shot (14 died) during a protest march in Londonderry in 1972.

They face charges including grievous bodily harm, attempted murder and murder, and could spend life in prison.

Why it is that these now frail and elderly men are being witch-hunted whilst, for example, Brighton bomber Patrick Magee - who in 1984 nearly succeeded in assassinating Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher - lives free?

Second, why is it that senior officers and politicians who led the Londonderry operation escape scrutiny, whilst junior ranks take the rap?

One Bloody Sunday veteran (who claims that soldiers retaliated after first being fired on) put it this way:

Those in the firing line facing potential prosecution are all soldiers. Where are the officers? Officers who encourage soldiers to step forward and give evidence have stood back and allowed them to be stitched up and sold down the river by the system which only cares about political correctness.

Nobody could deny that Bloody Sunday was a dark episode in British Army history; but we doubt whether lawyers sitting in comfortable, air-conditioned offices can begin to imagine the stresses that (then very young) soldiers were under, living in cramped barracks for months at a time, targeted daily by IRA snipers and bombers, and seeing comrades seriously injured or killed.

What purpose is served by continuing to harass these old men - unless to appease a resurgent IRA?

And how will the British Army replenish its ranks if prospective recruits know they could end up in court decades later for alleged offences whilst on active service?

To charge ex-squaddies with murder whilst IRA killers get off scot-free would reek to us of cynical political maneuvering.

Which is why Britain First is calling for a ten-year limit on the prosecution of (former) military personnel and the dropping off all charges and investigations against veterans of the Northern Ireland Troubles.


Note 1: The former Paras will find out this Thursday if they have to face charges.

Note 2: The city of San Francisco has posthumously awarded Martin McGuinness a Certificate of Honour for 'courageous service in the military'.


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