Trevor Ringland laments that "failure to deal fairly" with the legacy of crown force killings is "poisoning political life". He thinks "the English don't deserve the opprobrium heaped on them … they just wanted us to live in peace."(April 9th) In reality Britain sowed the seeds of today's legacy whirlwind because truth would have shattered their fairy tale justifications for crown force murders and for ruling part of Ireland.
An example of how Britain's "failure to deal fairly" with legacy murders ended up "poisoning political life" today, is the ongoing Ballymurphy Inquest. An ex-trooper from England, appropriately called C-4, gave explosive testimony which added the words "ghost gunmen" to the north's lexicon. "Ghost gunmen" were made up by British troopers to excuse murder. Another former trooper was requested to plant bullets on the dead. Some bodies were carried like sacks of potatoes, with the casual excuse there was a shortage of stretchers.
Why are shocking revelations emerging to haunt Britain today? Britain wasted 47 years of chances to "deal fairly" with the massacre of a priest, grandmother and nine other victims. Had the crown admitted the truth promptly, they might have spared themselves from "Bloody Sunday" and all that followed.
Instead British strategists opted for Internment, ‘Hooded Men’ torture and the Ballymurphy Massacre. They whitewashed Massacre with an orchestrated cover-up that branded the dead guilty. Instead Britain denied the truth, delayed any legal means of getting justice, and waited for parents to die and families to be ground down into submission that they would never get truth.
Had Britain come clean, twenty, ten, even five years ago, the Ballymurphy families would have responded generously to any genuine offer of justice. Now that Ballymurphy outlasted “deny, delay and die” tactics to get their inquest, Mr. Ringland blames everyone but Britain that the truth should emerge at all.
Ballymurphy is one example of Britain's strategic approach to hundreds of crown force and collusion murders. If, as Mr. Ringland recites, crown force killings were justified, why did they delay hearings which would exonerate their forces? Why resort to cover-ups at all?
However Britain may really fear a greater whirlwind to come. Books and documentaries are revealing mounting proof of what nationalists always knew. British "peacekeepers" worked with loyalist agents to commit hundreds of state sponsored murders. If Mr. Ringland wants reconciliation, he should begin by reconciling himself with the truth.
Martin Galvin is a US Attorney-At-Law.