At the tail end of last year the former British army commander turned security “expert”, Tim Collins, writing in Britain’s conservative Sunday Telegraph newspaper on the Bloody Sunday Massacre of 1972, the attack on an Irish civil rights demonstration in Derry by UK troops that left fourteen men and boys dead, claimed the:
“…Saville inquiry found that the IRA fired the first shots on the day – and the soldiers reacted as they were trained. The result was a disaster. A disaster founded on the IRA hijacking a peaceful rally to murder soldiers. Martin McGuinness, Sinn Fein and their military wing, the IRA, could not have imagined in their wildest, most murderous, dreams the result they were handed. Nor the rewards they are still reaping”
The official British government inquiry into the historic war crime in Derry by Lord Saville of Newdigate concluded in 2010 that the Irish Republican Army had categorically not fired the first shots or initiated the murderous actions of the UK’s infamous Parachute Regiment in January of 1972 (a unit which had carried out a similar atrocity, the Ballymurphy Massacre of August 1971, several months earlier in the city of Belfast). This statement of fact was accepted by Britain’s prime minster, David Cameroon, in his public apology to the people of Ireland on behalf of the United Kingdom. The matter is simply beyond dispute, which makes Collins’ allegation last year all the more repugnant. However, here we are five months later and who should give further credence to this foul canard, this fringe conspiracy, but Jim Cusack, the controversial security correspondent of the Independent News and Media group. Writing in the Irish Independent, Cusack describes the arrest of:
“…three of the surviving British soldiers who were present in Derry city on ‘Bloody Sunday’ in January 1972, when 13 Catholic civilians were shot dead after the IRA had opened fire on members of the Parachute Regiment.”
That accusation of IRA culpability, of firing the initial shots that began the slaughter on the streets of Derry is a bald-faced and explicit lie, a knowing and patent falsehood by Jim Cusack and the editorial staff of the Irish Independent. The Saville report made it clear that the Bloody Sunday killings began with a volley of shots from British paratroopers concealed in a derelict three-storey building overlooking William Street, an event which left two males wounded, one fatally.
What words or descriptions can one find to condemn those who would act as apologists for the murder of their fellow Irish citizens for the sake of anti-republican rhetoric? In the judgement of Lord Saville:
“We have concluded, for the reasons we give, that …many of these soldiers have knowingly put forward false accounts in order to seek to justify their firing.”
As we have seen, they are not the only ones.