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Parachute regiment murder and torture in Northern Ireland

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Sceala Irish Craic Forum Discussion:     Parachute regiment murder and torture in Northern Ireland

Official enquiry findings summary

"The withering account of events, which rubbished the original Widgery report into the shootings, showed that british army parachute soldiers lied about their actions and falsely claimed to have come under attack.

It recounted how some victims were shot in the back, others were killed as they lay wounded, and some soldiers fired without believing they were at risk, or simply not caring if their targets posed a threat.

The report added: ''Despite the contrary evidence given by soldiers, we have concluded that none of them fired in response to attacks or threatened attacks by nail or petrol bombers. No-one threw or threatened to throw a nail or petrol bomb at the soldiers on Bloody Sunday.''



You must be very happy not having the British army in Ireland anymore. People here in England now know the British army, especially the parachute regiment, caused a lot more trouble than they stopped.

Not just the British Parachute regiment were murderers and terrorized civilians, the so called royal marines and other regiments have many individuals who were criminals.
Scottish regiments as we have read here, were particularly prone to cruel thugs who were terrorists themselves in Ireland.
It seems the paras and the scots regiments attract some real low life scum.

Like these two killers that unquestioning people wear a poppy to honour as heroes, because are they not all hero types as the 21st century reinvented poppy suggests! Help for Heroes!!

Irish Community Images
Irish Community Images


This video highlights some of the general thuggery of the British army that caused the war to kick off.
Look at the Scottish army midget bully boys, especially the thug little sgt! And the unarmed Irishman standing up to them.

As if that Scottish mercenary bully boy thug, obviously pretty thick ike most british soldiers, as if he would try it without his gang and guns.
These are not brave british army, they are professional thugs, that anyone would end up despising if they had to endure them.

Irish Community Video




Half of British Army recruits have the skills of children leaving primary school. Having the mental capacity of a primary school child, just 11 years of age
nearly 1 in 10 were at the lower standard expected of seven and eight-year-olds.

That is the ill educated and thug low lives the Irish had to up with.
British soldiers in Ireland murdered children


The British army encourage and promote violence, they train their thickest to be evil cruel cowards, especially when in Ireland aginst Irish people, or fenians as the ignorant thugs commonly refer to us as.

A problem that Westminster is never likely to admit to, at least not after a forced public investigation that will cynically be delayed for decades.

Thirty more years before Westminster finally admitted (only because they were eventually forced to by solicitors) their boys were not heroes, that they were mass murderers on Derry, Bloody sunday.

According to reports this is not a coincidence -- the British Parachute regiment attracts the mentally deranged and disturbed.
Kids from broken homes, the otherwise unemployable. Many when they leave the army, end up on the streets as tramps or as criminals in Jail.
A startling claim, more Britsh army have committed suicide since the Falklands/Malvinas conflict, than the several hundreds that died fighting there. True or not, many are clearly individuals that needed help, not recruited to go kill!
In at least some way they are victims themselves of British colonial rule and state terrorism in Ireland and elsewhere.

Quotes from here and there

The Crown encourage and train the Paras to be psychopathic violent scum
Soldier F murdered more than any other. Soldier F the mass murdering scum was Scottish, no surprise there.

The inquiry was also reminded of the evidence of a priest, Father O'Keefe, who had been detained at Fort George.

Soldier F was described as smaller, "about 5'7" or 5'8" with a thin face and a regional Scottish accent".

In his evidence, Father O'Keefe vividly described the behaviour of the two men. "I distinctly remember these two soldiers roaming around and subjecting people in the room to more idle brutality," he said. "They would stamp on people's feet or knee people in the groin for no apparent reason. They appeared to be targeting younger lads, 15- to 17-year olds.

"I remember one soldier coming into the room and ordering that heaters should be brought in. Heaters duly arrived and the two soldiers I have described made two young fellows stand with their faces very close to the heaters for a long time.
"One of these two young fellows was clearly distressed by this treatment. I remember F saying to him 'Do you want a drink?' The young fellow said Yes' and was told to open his mouth. Soldier F spat in it."
At one point, Fr O'Keefe said, "F came up to me and said 'You were throwing stones, were you not?' I said, 'No, I am a Roman Catholic priest and a lecturer in philosophy and I do not throw stones'. F stepped back, paused for a moment and then kicked me very hard in the groin."

The inquiry heard how Soldier F, along with his friend Soldier G, has been the subject of sustained and detailed allegations of brutality in Derry and in Belfast by both civilians and other soldiers. However, his actions, observed Treacy, both on Bloody Sunday and elsewhere, had never harmed his career. He had been promoted and had remained in the army until 1988. The implication was therefore, said Treacy, that not only did the army authorities not disapprove of his actions, they positively endorsed them.

His career progressed despite the fact that the British Army at one point had to settle out of court after F and G severely beat Francis Creagh and Roman Muldoon, before dumping them on the Shankill Road. Soldier F blithely denied being involved and claimed that, in his two years in the Six Counties, he had never, as Treacy put it, lifted his hand to anybody, nor had he seen any other British soldier do so. He also claimed to have "scrupulously" adhered to the Yellow Card rules on discharging his weapon at all times, an assertion dismissed as "rubbish" by Treacy after the inquiry heard how Soldier F admitted that he had cocked his weapon with a round in the breech before advancing into the Bogside - an action expressly forbidden in the Yellow Card.

"You have a casual disregard for life [and] you also have a casual disregard for the truth," Treacy told him.

At one point, as the soldier continued with his increasingly ludicrous and implausible inability to remember anything at all, even Lord Saville appeared to become increasingly frustrated. "I am beginning to wonder about the utility of this," he commented.

During questioning by Eilis McDermott QC, for the family of Patrick Doherty, Soldier F was accused of using a "hunting shot" to kill Doherty. "The sort of shot that you take if you can get no other kind of shot - a cheap shot.

"I want to suggest to you on behalf of the Doherty family," she said, "that you murdered Mr Doherty and that as you sit there, you have got away with murder and that you have no intention of alleviating the suffering that they have endured over all these years by even attempting explain to them your role and what went on."

Lord Anthony Gifford QC, representing the family of James Wray, suggested to Soldier F that "you personally relished the prospect of going into the no-go areas and getting to grips with the people of the Bogside. You were sent in like a school of piranha fish into a public swimming pool to create mayhem - and you drew blood wherever you went."




Kevin myers, who appears to be a fairly extreme pro union journalist in the Irish independent -- even he says the Parachute regiment recruited for the IRA. Caused problems in Ireland, brutalized and terrorized the North. Murdered innocents.
Quote from Myers
Irish Community Images
Which still leaves us with the larger issue of why the Parachute Regiment was deployed in Northern Ireland and why its often evil conduct was tolerated as it was. Something like 90pc of clearly unlawful army killings throughout the Troubles were by the three battalions of the Parachute Regiment. Both Catholic priests who died in the Troubles were shot by the Paras and were, to my mind, murdered. So too were the dozen or so civilians who were killed alongside them in New Barnsley/Ballymurphy in the shooting gallery that the Paras made of those estates in August 1971 and July 1972.

Other Para killings have totally vanished in the sea of blood that was to inundate the north of Ireland and spread to the Republic and Britain.

I remember -- because I was there -- Paras shooting dead Patrick Magee, an innocent 20-year-old student teacher on the steps of St Comgall's school on the Falls Road as he left teaching practice. The same day, the Paras shot dead one-eyed Patrick Donaghy, aged 86, one of the oldest victims of the troubles.

He was killed as he stood at his window, eight storeys up in Divis Towers. Paras who gave evidence -- entirely unrehearsed, of course -- at his inquest said they had fired at a "gunman" in the window. Of course they did. The coroner -- wise fellow -- told the jury that one-eyed 86-year-old Patrick Donaghy was unlikely to have been "the gunman".

The list is not endless but it is long and, worse, it is inexcusable. And it was not Northern Ireland that did this to the Parachute Regiment but what the Parachute Regiment did to Northern Ireland.

For they had shown comparable murderousness while they were 'policing' the sunset days of the empire in Aden and Cyprus. Moreover, we now know that British Paras massacred captured Egyptian militiamen in Port Said during Suez in 1956.

Irish Community Images

It is reported that paras, members of same regiment committed war crimes in the Falklands/Malvinas Conflict.
some thugs of 3 Para shot and bayoneted unarmed prisoners to death and cut off their ears as trophies during the conflict
First dismissed as anti British unloyal rumors, the disturbed psychopathic habit was proven because it became known that human ears were found on a paratrooper killed in a battle there.
Irish Community ImagesAt one time rallying his men in the face of heavy enemy fire by standing on a rock and shouting, "Come on lads, I'm fuking bulletproof, follow me!"
Unfortunately for McLaughin he didn't prove to be shell proof, and he was killed in the final stages of the battle by an artillery round that tore through his back.
After the battle the battalion padre, Derek Heaver, was collecting the dead corporal's personal effects when he found in an ammunition pouch several pairs of Argentine ears. In the words of one of the Paras present, the padre "went apeshit"

theweek.co.uk/politics/falkland-islands/3207/mutilating-taliban-dead-first-british-army
Irish Community Images
Irish Community Images
Supposed heroic, the reality of the British paras, beating a boys head off a tank -- they notice that someone is watching them so they shoot the witness -- a Mother at point blank in the face.

British Soldiers compared to Nazi storm troopers by British officer.


Col Richard Kemp said his immediate instinct on hearing the findings of the Saville Inquiry was that guilty soldiers should be jailed for a long time.


''I think that the actions we have heard described are much more like the actions of Nazi stormtroopers than British paratroopers,'' he said.


Col Kemp, who commanded all British troops in Afghanistan, thought the shocking report into the Derry massacre on January 30 1972 should see the full wrath of the law come down on the killers.



Crosses with names of those killed by British Army, on the main Belfast to Derry road at Dungiven. Photograph: Richard Mcauley
Kev -- Blackie. You survived it all -- so we would be very interested in your thoughts on this. There is news breaking here that the same British parachute regiment murdered and tortured many more people in Northern Ireland. The people murdered by the British parachute regiment included a Priest and a mother of 8.
People here are now wondering if it was the British army --especially the parachute regiment -- that encouraged if not directly caused 30 years of troubles. The parachute regiments brutality --murder and torture of innocent civillians -- recruited for the IRA and started more trouble and hatred.
Sharing some good reads on the Parachute regiments murders. Gerry Adams writing is very good and fair.

Bloody Sunday is the defining story of the British army in Ireland
Saville has vindicated those who were killed on Bloody Sunday. But many more families continue to be denied truth
By 2.30pm the crowd at Free Derry corner had swollen and spread towards the Bloody Sunday memorial. The Bogside nestled below the city walls basking in warm summer sunshine. Stewards shepherded members of the Bloody Sunday families and other victims of state killings, like the Ballymurphy families, to the front of the mass of people. Eleven people � 10 men, including a local priest and a mother of eight children � were killed in Ballymurphy in west Belfast by the parachute regiment in the 36 hours following the introduction of internment in August 1971, six months before Bloody Sunday in Derry.
There was a good natured sense of expectation as thousands of people fell in behind the families. The names of the 14 victims were read aloud. There was a minute's silence. Then we set off for the Guildhall, the destination of the original civil rights march 38 years ago. As we passed Pilots Row Youth and Community Centre someone started to sing We Shall Overcome and I was swept back over 40 years ago.
"We shall all be free.
We shall all be free.
We shall all be free.
Some day.
And deep in my heart
I do believe
That we shall
Overcome
One day."
In Guildhall Square the crowds cheered loudly as family members ensconced inside the city chambers reading the Saville report, waved copies of the report from the stained glass windows and gave thumbs up signals.

We knew then, even before listening to the British prime minister speaking from parliament in London and relayed live on a big screen, that the families felt vindicated. Today was their day. Today was a day for those killed and injured. Today was a day for those who campaigned for almost 40 years for truth and justice.
And when they trooped out of the Guildhall they were greeted with a rapturous welcome. Tony Doherty whose father was killed by the paras put the families feelings well.

"The victims of Bloody Sunday have been vindicated. The Parachute Regiment has been disgraced. Widgery's great lie has been laid bare. The truth has been brought home at last.
"It can now be proclaimed to the world that the dead and the wounded of Bloody Sunday, civil rights marchers, were innocent one and all... the Parachute Regiment are the frontline assassins for Britain's political and military elite. The report of the Saville tribunal confirms this ... democracy itself ... needs know what happened here on January 30 1972. The British people need to know. The Irish people need to know. The world needs to know.

"Just as the civil rights movement of 40 years ago was part of something huge happening all over the world, so the repression that came upon us was the same as is suffered by ordinary people everywhere who dare to stand up against injustice. Sharpeville. Grozny. Tiananmen Square. Darfur. Fallujah. Gaza. Let our truth stand as their truth too."

Representatives of all the families spoke. One by one they declared their relative, their brother, their father, their uncle, "innocent!"

Their remarks were interrupted by loud applause. People cried and cheered. Clenched fists stabbed the air. Not the clenched fists of young radicals. These were elderly Derry grannies and grandads. Elderly widows. Middle-aged siblings.
"We shall all be free'
We shall all be free.
One day."
Today was their day. There was an air of celebration. Of achievement. Of pride. Of release.
At the end, one of the women relatives tore up a copy of the Widgery report and flung it to the wind. Widgery was part of the British state's cover-up of what had happened. A lie it stuck to for decades. I picked up some of the pieces afterwards and placed them in my copy of Saville, a keepsake of a remarkable day.
On the way home someone had placed hundreds of little name plaques along the grass verge at the side of the road outside Dungiven. The names were of hundreds of citizens killed by the British army and other state forces here during the conflict, including the 11 from Ballymurphy.
Cameron should know they and their families continue to be denied truth. His apology for Bloody Sunday was right. But he said that "Bloody Sunday is not the defining story of the service the British army gave in the north of Ireland from 1969-2007."
That is wrong.
Bloody Sunday is the defining story of the British army in Ireland.
guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/jun/16/bloody-sunday-british-army

This one is from the Timesonline. Look at what the writer says near the bottom.
Read this
Timesonline
In Northern Ireland, in the early 1970s and beyond, the Parachute regiment reputation for brutality towards civilians in Belfast, which included many civilian deaths, among them two Catholic Priests in Ballymurphy. Why were they deployed in the Bogside on Bloody Sunday? I suspect Saville will confirm that someone, somewhere in the military/political establishment wanted some uppity civilians taught a lesson, and drafted in the Paras to do just that. Can any reasonable person seriously describe the deaths of civilians in a crowded area after the deployment of aggressive, heavily armed military personnel as the result of �panic and ill judgement�?

Ballymurphy to Basra
Speaking after the publication of the Saville inquiry into the Bloody Sunday killings, Shaun Woodward, the former the north of Ireland Secretary, suggested today that a formal truth and reconciliation process should be extended to all the unresolved killings in the Province and, in particular, to the deaths of 11 civilians in the Ballymurphy area of West Belfast in early August, 1971.

On August 9 of that year internment without trial was added to the Army�s powers, having been approved in secret by the Prime Minister Edward Heath and the Cabinet just days earlier. On the same day that the new powers came into effect, a massive dawn swoop was launched all over the Province, exclusively against Catholic areas, to arrest some 450 suspects and �to smash the IRA once and for all�.

The next day, The Times reported that 12 people had been killed and 300 detained.

Trouble, which had simmered overnight, flared yesterday morning with the news that more than 300 arrests had been made under sweeping new powers of internment taken by the Stormont Government � The announcement of the new internment powers and of the banning of all processions for six months, including Thursday's Apprentice Boys' parade in Derry, was made by Mr Faulkner, the north of Ireland Prime Minister, yesterday morning as houses blazed in Belfast, Derry and Newry after a night of rioting ... News that 300 people had been detained in Ulster was sent by radiotelephone to Mr Heath on board his yacht Morning Cloud off Land's End.

Even with rioting all over the Province, the Ballymurphy killings stood out. In a gun battle around the Army's base in the Henry Taggart Memorial Hall, two men and a woman were reported killed. On the following day, a round-up of the casualties in the rioting so far reported that the death toll had reached 17, three of them soldiers. One of the Ballymurphy dead was a priest, Father Hugh Mullan, who was shot while giving the last rites to a dying man.

In the next day�s Times, the Army was announcing with some satisfaction that the operation had been a success, with 70 per cent of its targets now in custody. With retrospect, the tone of the Army statements shows an extraordinary lack of awareness of the real nature of the struggle they were engaged in.

What has shaken some of the senior officers has been the fierceness of the civilian response which has confused the issue since Monday and prevented troops from concentrating on the battle with the IRA. If it can be resolved into a straight battle between the IRA and the British Army, the Army believes that its superior firepower will prevail. After Tuesday night's firing between the two sides, for instance, the Army is claiming a 20 to one victory in terms of casualties.

As the fighting gradually simmered down, the war of words began.
As Brigadier Marston Tickell, the Army chief of staff in the north of Ireland, was claiming that the hard core of the IRA had been virtually defeated, the leader of the Provisional branch of the IRA said at a simultaneous conference that his army was still strong and intact in spite of internment.

And almost immediately, the reports started to come in of Army mistreatment of prisoners. On August 17, allegations were published that soldiers had urinated on prisoners, subjected them to electric shocks and threatened to hurl them from helicopters.

Detailed allegations of troops' brutality continue to be published here. Most army officers are prepared to admit that their soldiers were "brisk" in their handling of the internment situation last week, but believe that many of the allegations being made are so totally out of character with British troops' behaviour as to be ludicrous.

The Times commented:
Possibly the most serious outcome of the last ten days has been the deterioration in the �image� of the British Army in the eyes not only of the Roman Catholic community here and of a large section of the population of the Irish Republic, but also in overseas countries and particularly in the United States.

As questions about the conduct of the raids escalated, a Dublin commentator, Hugh Munro, gave a view from south of the border:

The foreseen and accepted results which Messrs Heath, Maudling and Faulkner had in mind when they introduced internment hardly included thirty deaths, millions of pounds of damage, thousands of homeless and the utter alienation of the Catholic population from British rule: and so we may conclude that things have not gone according to plan.

In response to the growing protests, Home Secretary Reginald Maudling appointed Sir Edward Compton, who had been the first Ombudsman, to conduct an inquiry. The committee was to report �on five groups of allegations dealing with methods used in handling detainees and with 20 individual allegations. Forty men arrested on August 9 were involved in the allegations�.

The conclusion, published in November 1971, was damning. Even if the Army was cleared of brutality, prisoners had undoubtedly been ill-treated, hooded, made to stand spread-eagled against a wall for long periods, kept on a bread and water diet and deprived of sleep.

Graham Greene wrote a coruscating letter to The Times: Interrogation methods in Northern Ireland

"Deep interrogation" - a bureaucratic phrase which takes the place of the simpler word "torture" and is worthy of Orwell's 1984 - is on a different level of immorality than hysterical sadism or the indiscriminating bomb of urban guerrillas. It is something oranized with imagination and a knowledge of psychology, calculated and cold blooded, and it is only half condemned by the Compton investigation.

Mr Maudling in his blithe jolly style, reminiscent of that used by defenders of corporal punishment when they remember their school days, suggest that no one has suffered permanent injury from this form or torture, by standing long hours pressed against a wall, hooded in darkness, isolated and deprived of hearing as well as sight by permanent noise, prevented in the intervals of the ordeal from sleep ...

If I, as a Catholic, were living in Ulster today I confess I would have one savage and irrational ambition - to see Mr Maudling pressed against a wall for hours on end, with a hood over his head, hearing nothing but the noise of a wind-machine, deprived of sleep when the noise temporarily ceases by the bland voice of a politician telling him that his brain will suffer no irreparable damage.

The effect of these methods extends far beyond the borders of Ulster. How can any Englishman now protest against torture in Vietnam, in Greece, in Brazil, in the psychiatric wards of the USSR, without being told "You have a double standard: one for others and another for your own country ".

Greene didn�t live to see the Compton report being extensively quoted at the public inquiry into the death of Baha Mousa, the Iraqi civilian who died in Basra in 2003 while in the custody of British troops, after allegedly having been hooded and beaten.

What would he have thought, to hear such allegations being raised again, more than 30 years on.

And the BBC same subject of parachute regiment
Families call for inquiry into 1971 Ballymurphy deaths

Gerry Adams Gerry Adams was at the families news conference
The families of 11 people killed by the Army in 1971 have said they want an independent international investigation into the deaths.
They were killed by the Parachute Regiment in west Belfast in August 1971.
The call followed the Saville report into the Bloody Sunday killings in Derry.
They appeared at a news conference on Thursday alongside Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams.
At the conference was Carmel Quinn, whose brother John Laverty, 20, was one of those who died.
She said that following the Saville report, they wanted what she called a "statement of innocence from the British Government for those who died".
Mr Adams said: "In Ballymurphy six months before Bloody Sunday, we have another striking example of the brutality with which the Paras acted and how the British system then connived in a cover-up.
"In the 36 hours after the introduction of internment in August 1971 11 people - ten men, including a local priest and a mother of eight children - were killed by the British Army's Parachute Regiment in the Ballymurphy area.
"The accounts of how their loved ones died the bear a striking similarity to the stories told by the Derry families and now vindicated by the Saville report," he said.

Daily mail -- both editions on the British army
Irish Community Images
Which is the 'true face' of the Mail?
Daily Mail: British and Irish editions, 16 June 2010 Daily Mail: London and Irish editions, 16 June 2010
Both the above are copies of yesterday's Daily Mail: one its London edition, the other the version sold in the Irish Republic. Both covered the publication of Lord Saville's report on Bloody Sunday. In Dublin, the paper took an angle similar to most of the UK's press. "Finally an apology for Bloody Sunday, but is it enough?" it asked. It carried a picture of jubilant families jumping for joy in Derry sunshine, with "Justice at last" as the caption. Inside, the leader said: "The paratroopers deliberately lied to justify what they had done ... The truth has been brought home at last. And thank God for that." The London edition took a slightly different line on things, using the death of two servicemen in Afghanistan to illustrate the "True face of our soldiers". Inside, they launched a diatribe: "No nation on Earth possesses a talent promoting its grievances to match that of the Irish ... However frank is Lord Saville's report, it would be rash to anticipate much Irish goodwill or gratitude for it. Republicans do not do goodwill or gratitude for it." Monkey did not need eagle eyes to spot the difference.
guardian.co.uk/media/mediamonkeyblog/2010/jun/17/daily-mail-bloody-sunday

Eammon McCann highlighted the disturbing extreme violent reality of the British army -- especially the parachute regiment.

The conflict in the North is commonly analysed in terms of the kind of people involved in the violence. Paramilitaries, for example, are frequently explained, or explained away, as psychopaths or racketeers.

But recently, publicity surrounding a book by Vincent Bramley throws light on the kind of people involved in military, as opposed to paramilitary, groups.

Bramley was a corporal in the Third Battalion of the Parachute Regiment. His book, called "Excursion to Hell", is about what happened to him in the Falklands War. It has sparked controversy in Britain because of its account of how some men of 3 Para shot and bayoneted unarmed prisoners to death and cut off their ears as trophies during the taking of Mount Longdon. A World In Action programme the week before last gave a graphic account of some of the incidents.

Detectives from Scotland Yard have travelled to the Falklands to investigate, and are to visit Argentina to talk to a number of men taken prisoner on the Islands, including one who says that two members of 3 Para botched an attempt to murder him at a time when he was unarmed and posed no threat to them.

The controversy in Britain centres on whether the investigation should be underway at all. Many press commentators and MPs have argued that if some Paras lost the run of themselves in the afterglow of battle, so what? That's war. If a few did desperate things, they also did good soldiering. What's to be gained now from digging up the entrails of small atrocities and raking them over for inspection?

There's a point here. All manner of appalling things happen in war. I once spent a couple of years transplanting trees in London with a team of ex-squaddies who would occasionally while away wet-time (when a cloud the size of a man's hand passed across the face of the sun we'd implement a union agreement that we didn't have to work in the rain) recalling their service in the Malayan "Emergency" when they'd cut the heads or smaller bits off "Chinese communists". I remember one fellow passing round creased pictures of himself and his mates holding their prizes aloft.

These were conscript soldiers, the last intake of National Servicemen, not professionals. Generally speaking, when you pressed them, they'd admit to shame at what they'd gotten up to, but also to a certain fascination with the fact that they'd had it in them to do it.

And they'd all tell you that, hell, they'd been pussy-cats when compared to the prestige outfits, the crack troops, the corps d'elite of the military machine, like the SAS, the marines, the Paras.

The Paras are regarded by all other regiments, and especially by themselves, as not just the cream but the cr�me de la cr�me. This view is implicit in the length and legendary toughness of the regiment's selection procedure, which discards a large majority of them who aspire to the famous red beret.

Bramley's book, and a number of feature articles about the book published in the last few weeks, provide a detailed and devastating account of the qualities which go to make a Para, and of the culture which all-pervades the regiment.

Bramley admits to having been a "problem child" and then a disturbed adolescent, into football hooliganism and generalised violence. By the age of sixteen he had a conviction for causing actual bodily harm. It was during a period spent in a detention centre that he discovered that he liked this life of short hair, rigid discipline and hard physical fitness. On release he applied to become a Para, and felt immediately among his own.

"Remember where your average Para comes from", the Independent on Sunday quotes a corporal from Bramley's battalion. "In my section there was me - and I'd been a foster child - and twelve men under me . . . There wasn't a single one of them who came from a normal family, who hadn't been in council care, in foster homes and the rest of it . . . The Para Reg., with its rules and regulations and discipline, became our family".

And family solidarity was the order of the day. As Bramley describes it, the life of the Para during peacetime was filled with togetherness, extreme drunkenness and constant violence. Many looked forward to being able to kill.

On World In Action one ex-Para recalled his reaction to the order to go into action on Mount Longdon: "To be given the order to fix bayonets, and just to fix my own bayonet, and to actually use it for the purpose it's designed for, to me it was a joy. It was a joy to fire a weapon for the first time, to kill someone, or do damage to someone".

Everyday violence was not just accepted, but celebrated. A sizeable number of Paras, regarding themselves as representative of the "true spirit" of the regiment, were devotees of tracts such as "Who's Who in Nazi Germany" and "Hitler's Teutonic Knights".

They would end boozy, brawling evenings with heartfelt renditions of "Lorelei" - the Nazi song featured in the film "Cabaret", which proclaims that "Tomorrow belongs to me" - or the SS marching son, "When We March on England", or "The Fallschirmiager Song", the anthem of the German airborne assault troops who spearheaded the blitzkrieg on the Western front in 1940. The Paras wanted to be seen as separate from, and threatening towards, the society around them.

They favoured rituals which celebrated their own relish of practices ordinary people would find disgusting. Consuming vomit, urine and excrement, for example.

Members of 3 Para found it irritating that it had been their colleagues of 1 Para who had shot dead thirteen Derry neighbours of mine in January 1972. They resented the taunt that, "We shot one, we shot two, we shot thirteen more than you". This appears to have been taken as a challenge to their honour.

In light of all this it's not surprising that members of 3 Para on Mount Langdon killed and mutilated prisoners. It was in character.

A former member of the battalion is quoted in the Independent on Sunday: "I remember one bloke, we'd overrun a bunker, and he bayoneted this Argy through the throat and as the guy fell back dead he grabbed him and sawed his ear off with the bayonet. 'Right', he said, 'I'll be having that', and it went into his pouch".

Another man from 3 Para, identified on World In Action as Stuart "Scouse" McLaughlin, was recommended for a posthumous decoration for bravery during the battle for Mount Longdon, but was turned down when it was discovered that his ammunition pouch had been filled with ears and other Argentine body parts.

Some say that McLaughlin should have received his award anyway, despite his trophy-bag of body-pieces. All who fought alongside him confirm that he displayed reckless disregard for his own safety on the freezing slopes of Mount Longdon, and contributed mightily to victory in the battle.

There's a point there, too. It makes no sense to see the Paras' readiness to make rubbish of ordinary rules of human decency as a blemish on their behaviour in battle. On the contrary, it is surely the fact that they find viciousness congenial which makes them such exceptional warriors.

They are selected, trained and equipped for the precise purpose of inflicting the maximum amount of physical damage on people identified as enemies by their political chiefs. How could they perform this function that they had been meticulously prepared for if they thought of the enemy as having rights, dignity, humanity of any sort?

Sawing the ears off an Argentine like he was an animal slaughtered in a blood sport must make perfect sense to the Para-military mind.

It's understandable that British true-Tories like Nicholas Fairbairn are contemptuous of the investigation of what happened on Mount Longdon, that they long for the return of Mrs. Thatcher, under whom, so they say, such holy-joe moralising wouldn't be tolerated for a minute.

In the meantime, let us note that it was 3 Para which won that other victory in the pubs of Coalisland last year.

And let's keep Corporal Bramley's book in mind the next time some Fianna Failer, Fine Gaeler, Labourite, PD or Democratic Leftist starts wittering on about what sort of savages there must be in the North to have such a high tolerance-level for violence.

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