British Should Face War Crimes Tribunal

From The Transcripts Martin Galvin (MG) speaks to Kate Nash (KN) via telephone from Doire and gets updates on the Bloody Sunday cases.

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(begins time stamp ~ 39:48)

MG: With us on the line we have Kate Nash whose brother was one of the victims murdered by British troopers on Bloody Sunday and is still fighting to have those troopers brought to court and be publicly charged for the crimes that they committed that day. Kate, welcome back to Radio Free Éireann – I know you’ve been doing this programme a lot longer than I have.

KN: Oh, thank you, yes, and thank you for inviting me.

MG: Alright, Kate. Now we now have another milestone in the Bloody Sunday, in your fight to bring those British troopers to justice for the murder of your brother, the wounding of your father, the killing and wounding of so many other people. What is the latest that has happened with your fight for justice?

KN: Yes well, we got an update eight days ago from the PSNI (Police Service of Northern Ireland) to actually say that they had finished questioning soldiers and that will be the end of questioning when this is all together so that’s very significant in our fight for justice and especially in this murder investigation because it’s taken four years to get this far so yes, you’re right, it’s a very significant milestone.

However, they have also told us that they will now sit and consider and see about compiling a case to present to the Public Prosecution Service. But however, there’s a little fear there, too – because they did warn us, the leading detective on this case, did warn us four years ago when it started that it could possibly be – they might not prosecute using that term ‘public interest’. It’s a (inaudible) term you know so they might not think it’s in the public interest to prosecute these soldiers.

MG: Alright Kate, I know it seems – four years for this investigation, they’ve been through so much, you had a Saville Inquiry, you had the original investigation – for most of these troopers, they said they had to be questioned – all they did is said they wouldn’t answer any questions. Why did it take four years to get to this point and why is it you still – you and the other families have no idea whether they will even recommend that charges be brought and of course, that recommendation would have to be approved or disapproved by the Director of Public Prosecutions like what we would call a District Attorney here in New York.

KN: Well, we also have to remember that at the Saville Inquiry – Saville had the powers of a High Court and he himself could have recommended prosecutions at the end of that. He chose not to do that. And if fact, there was a lot of perjury committed by soldiers at the Saville Inquiry and he could have recommended even arrests for that and he didn’t do it. So I think just … I mean the delays in this case and the unwillingness, really, to actually prosecute soldiers – it’s been that way all along. We have fought from the very start and it seems, really, that before they get soldiers into court the idea really is for us to die off, you know, that seems to be – the judiciary here, as you know, Martin, the judiciary here have been unwilling to deal with any of these cases, any of these state murders, and that’s the way it is. We’ve become used to that. So it’s another wait for us now to find out if they will actually, if the Public Prosecution, will actually prosecute.

MG: But Kate, this case – we’re talking with Kate Nash whose brother was one of the Bloody Sunday victims who was killed, whose father was wounded on Bloody Sunday and is actually one of the people who leads the Bloody Sunday Marches each year – in this case you had a British Prime Minister say that this was ‘unjustified and unjustifiable killings’ – that’s a legal definition of murder if I ever heard one. You had Saville talk about how the testimony under oath was knowingly not truthful which seems to fit, pretty much, a legal definition of perjury. How is there any hesitation, how is there any hold up, how is there any doubt as to whether they would recommend charges of murder or manslaughter or perjury against those troopers?

KN: Yes, well the fact of the matter is there has been political interference from the start and went all through – not just in the case of Bloody Sunday – in other cases as well. And the fact is they simply don’t want to put soldiers in jail. I don’t know if it’s because there’s been deals made, I’m pretty sure there has been, the Good Friday Agreement – and I think they probably all decided that an apology would be enough. As a matter of fact it’s not enough. An apology certainly wouldn’t take the place of justice for anybody and it certainly won’t take the place of justice for us or most of the families. I believe there is one or two families who would be involved with Sinn Féin who are happy enough with this apology. However, we’re not – most of the families aren’t.

MG: Alright. Now, how far up do you expect, if there are charges at all, is it just going to be…

KN: …Yes, well if there are charges I would expect – I have asked, on many occasions, I’m in touch with the PSNI at least once a week by email. And I have asked have they questioned General Sir Michael Jackson, who took a leading role on the day of Bloody Sunday. He was the man who compiled the famous ‘shot list‘ where bullets went and also the man responsible for putting the story around the world in fact within twenty-four hours that those who were shot that day were bombers and gunmen and indeed, they did try to allude to the fact that my brother was one of those people.

MG: Now Mike Jackson is a senior British officer at this time. But it’s clear: British soldiers were brought together. They were given a scenario to comply with, to tell a story to try to justify what happened and concoct it – you don’t get that many different stories from that many different people. They all say the same thing and they all say something which is so different from what everybody saw on Bloody Sunday itself. They couldn’t have done that unless there was a concerted effort to concoct and stick to and give out a cover story.

KN: Oh, absolutely!

MG: Do you think that there’s any possibility of somebody, British officers who did that, who concocted the cover story, who started it and put out the cover-up of them being charged for perjury and for perverting the course of justice in a murder investigation?

KN: Well absolutely! I feel that General Sir Mike Jackson should be one of those who’s charged with perjury. There’s a very strong case actually for it. He actually appeared back at the Saville Inquiry and had to be called back a second time because of lies he told the first time. So absolutely there’s a case for it. However, when we do ask the PSNI about this they tell me: It’s inappropriate for us to answer these questions and you know, you’ll find, eventually, whenever the time is right, you know so – I don’t know. But certainly they won’t even actually confirm that they’re questioning General Sir Mike Jackson – but however and indeed the soldier who led them in, Derek Wilford, Lieutenant Colonel Derek Wilford, so we’ll have to just wait and see.

MG: He was knighted, of course. But in, for example…

KN: …Yes, he was. He was given an OBE at the end of 1972.

MG: …In the United States, if you had a case like this, the District Attorney, the police would attempt to liaise with the families of the victims. They would speak to them, they would keep them updated, they would brief them. Does any of that happen with you and the other Bloody Sunday families on any sort of regular basis?

KN: No. We have probably met with the PSNI in four years probably about six times. Now last time we met with the PSNI was actually – and I’m talking the families – was actually almost a year ago – September – it will be a year since we met with them. Although my Liaison Officer, who is somebody who forwards my messages to the leading detective – you know, she’s what we have – a buffer – she told me that she didn’t think the PSNI would be meeting with the families soon so it’ll be interesting to see.

MG: Just to show you how this is not something that just happened once on Bloody Sunday: During this past week there was something very poignant: Mary Murphy, whose husband, Joseph Murphy, was shot down in Ballymurphy in 1971, in August of 1971, in what is called the Ballymurphy Massacre and what happened the same regiment, the Paratroop Regiment which would fire on civil rights marchers and shoot down people on Bloody Sunday in Doire in January of 1972. In August of 1971 during internment they shot down a number of people. Mr. Murphy who was killed so many years ago – actually his body was recently exhumed. They found that he was shot twice and he had to be re-buried along with his wife. But those families, the Ballymurphy Massacre families, who are also a victim of injustice, also victims of British murder at the hands of the Paratroop Regiment, they haven’t even got to the point where you are, they haven’t even got an inquiry, they haven’t even got to the point where their cases will be taken up and there would be any consideration given about murder charges against the troopers?

KN: Joseph Murphy, as you rightly pointed out, Joseph Murphy was shot between the ninth and the eleventh of August in 1971. That’s six months before Bloody Sunday and rightly you said, too, by the First Battalion of the Parachute Regiment. Now Joseph Murphy’s story is very sad: He was a forty-one year old father of twelve and Joseph was actually shot over that three day period in the leg. Now Joseph maintained – Joseph lay in hospital for thirteen days before he actually passed away and Joseph maintained to his wife, Mary Ellen, that they had actually him after they shot him the Army had actually taken him to the Henry Taggart Hall, which they were using you know, as a stop-gap, and they’d actually shot him in the same wound a second time! Now, how cruel is that? And he maintained that so his wife disputed that evidence all those years and finally Joseph was exhumed last year and lo and behold! There was the bullet! The family had known all along. Now the families of Ballymurphy are expecting inquests and I’m told that some day they actually – it was actually her lawyer, Michael Mansfield from London, is going to represent some of those families so I wish them all the best I really do. They’ve some struggle, the really had and they’ve had all along – they’ve gotten absolutely no where so they’re just putting everything they wish for on these inquests but it’s not prosecutions – it’s just going to get the truth out there – hopefully. Hopefully.

MG: Alright now Kate, you have been one of the leaders in the annual Bloody Sunday March which continues every year and I know you’re expecting to be marching next January again…

KN: …Absolutely!

MG: …which you have so many years. Why is it that it’s so necessary to march, to put pressure on the British government, to go forward if you’re ever to get justice in this for your brother’s murder?

KN: Martin, we just don’t actually do the march. We have a whole week of events and it’s raising and highlighting other injustices and many other victims of state killers actually. And indeed and for instance like Stakeknife. You’ve heard of him – he was a double agent. He worked for the IRA and the British government or MI5 and those are the kind of cases that we’re – because there was a lot of collusion in our wee country, an awful lot of collusion. And although the British say that they feel they were only responsible for ten percent in actual fact, with the undercover groups that worked in Ireland and just behaving as paramilitaries, really, and just the shoot-by-killings and stuff like that I mean, I would imagine they’ve killed many, many more people. And it’s incumbent upon them, you see, to cover that up. They don’t want to be disgrace in the world by perpetuating a war – and that’s what they did in Ireland – they perpetuated a war by their acts of aggression and their acts of murder and undercover, of course, and that’s what they don’t want to world to find out – what they have done in Ireland. Really they should be facing a war crimes tribunal, they really should.

MG: Well what they did on Bloody Sunday was still – there were civil rights marches, there was internment and by shooting people down on Bloody Sunday they convinced many people that you were never get civil rights, you were never going to get any kind of justice from a British government that was prepared to answer marches for justice and appeals for civil rights with Bloody Sunday and shooting down civilians and lying about it.

KN: …And of course, we still have internment. Of course, we still have internment. And we still – there’s still political interference in the law. You know of the case of Ivor Bell. There’s one grand example and also the latest example would be Tony Taylor, a man who got out on licence and who was living his life and helping in the community, raising his family, one of his children is special needs, and Tony, who only has one kidney actually and a spleen – doesn’t have a spleen – Tony was arrested again and put in jail and he’s been there for five and a half months and there has been no evidence put up to show that this man should be in jail again. They’ve absolutely nothing at all and so they have him there – they won’t let him out.

I mean this is supposed to be a democratic country we live in. You know, this sort of thing? This is what we fought against forty-five years ago. This is why my brother died. And here it is all these years later and we still have that kind of thing hanging – that kind of dictatorship hanging over our heads.

MG: Well one of the sad things is that Martin McGuinness and others with Sinn Féin have publicly said that Tony Taylor should be released. They have representation on the policing board. They’re there, they say they have political power within the Six Counties as Deputy First Minister and yet that means absolutely nothing – a British Secretary keeps him in jail.

KN: That’s right. Well, that shows you really who’s running the show.

Alright, Kate. We’ll let that be the last word. And thank you again for being with us.

KN: Well, thank you for having me. Thank you very much.

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