Friday, 3 October 2014

Just Like Pontius Pilate.


In November 2013 Attorney General John Larkin suggested there should be an end to prosecutions for Troubles-related killings. He also suggested that there should be no further police investigations, inquests or inquiries into related killings that took place prior the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998. This suggestion came as former US diplomat Richard Haass tried to broker an agreement over how to deal with the past, amongst other issues.

From that time former PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggott is on record as saying that the cost of policing the past was having a massive impact on how the PSNI deal with present issues. Mr. Baggot has been quoted as saying "Whilst we are committed to meeting our current legislative responsibilities, dealing with legacy issues continues to place significant pressure on our organisation and financial resources."

In recent days it has been announced that the Historical Enquiry Team is to be abolished and that the  investigation in to the Bloody Sunday murders is to be scaled back. This announcement has horrified many of the victim's families which is hardly surprising as this move has been justified on the basis of cost saving.

Some may argue that the PSNI find themselves in an awkward predicament in terms of the cuts to the annual budget, but surely murder investigations past and present should take precedence?
This revelation comes just one week after the screening of a documentary by Peter Taylor entitled 'Who the War?' During this documentary a former member of the British Parachute Regiment who was present on Bloody Sunday spoke of how he felt no remorse adding that he would do it again. It would seem that despite the apology proffered by David Cameron in 2010 that the British Army foot soldiers who participated in mass murder, feel neither remorse nor shame.

On June 15th 2010 following the presentation of the Lord Saville's findings the British Prime Minister David Cameron had this to say in full view of the world's press. “ There is no doubt, there is nothing equivocal, there are no ambiguities. What happened on Bloody Sunday was both unjustified and unjustifiable." It was wrong. Followed bythe government is ultimately responsible for the conduct of the armed forces and for that, on behalf of the government, indeed, on behalf of our country, I am deeply sorry.”

With the British Government responsible for the conduct of the armed forces surely it is their responsibility to ensure justice is served as  David Cameron confirmed that members of the armed forces had acted “wrongly.” He also stated that “the families of those who died should not have had to live with the pain and the hurt of that day and with a lifetime of loss." Reflecting on those words the onus is clearly on the British Prime Minister/ British Government to ensure justice is done and to ensure that the families of those murdered and the people of Derry get the closure that is needed.

If David Cameron fails to oblige then his apology was nothing but hollow words. That said this was the man who in is his apology never once mentioned the Parachute regiment by name, merely referring to them as a 'support company' as if this would somehow detract from the murderous and brutal legacy of the Parachute Regiment, in Derry, in Ballymurphy and in other locations across the world.

And it is to the involvement of the British Government in 'conflicts' across the world that we must look if we are to question the rationale that there is no money for the Bloody Sunday and other conflict related investigations.

In April of this year it was revealed the cost of military conflicts to Britain since 1990 could reach approximately £42 billion. The bulk of the money was spent on operations in Iraq and Afghanistan which were later deemed strategic failures, and the motives for their involvement questionable. With these figures in mind the cost of bringing those responsible for the murder of innocent civilians to justice is minimal.

The truth is the British state needs a clean slate in the North, it's legacy beyond Bloody Sunday involves funding, arming and providing intelligence to loyalist terror groups, the torture of internees, the running of agents such as Mark Haddock within armed groups who were responsible for multiple killings. All those things and more are beginning to raise their heads as the past is starting to catch up with the British state.

The problem for the British state is that there are many people here from a range of backgrounds who have suffered because of the conflict and because of the actions of the British state and its lackeys. Their suffering can't just be wiped out because its convenient now for the state.

Pontious Pilate may have washed the blood of Christ from his hands, however the British state should not be allowed to try and do the same.

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