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Soldier F and the BBC

Discussion in 'Jollies Bar' started by Chelonian, Apr 22, 2019.

  1. Chelonian

    Chelonian Moderator

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    Is it just me or is there something odd about the apparent lack of national BBC media interest in the growing support for Soldier F?

    For those unaware of the Soldier F case an online search of one’s favoured information source will fill in the background.

    Aside from the recent and almost ignored London protest regional demonstrations have taken place nationwide including the cities of Plymouth and Dundee.

    https://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/news/plymouth-news/live-veterans-protest-bloody-sunday-2777591

    https://www.eveningtelegraph.co.uk/...ort-of-soldier-f-over-bloody-sunday-killings/

    A protest of a slightly different nature was made in Portadown, County Armagh.

    https://www.derryjournal.com/news/s...ve-and-should-be-taken-down-jackson-1-8894068

    I seldom don a tin-foil-hat but there are rumours from credible sources which suggest that the combination of insecurity about the BREXIT border between NI and the Republic and sensitivity about the Soldier F case has prompted the BBC to be ‘persuaded’ to not further inflame tensions.

    Someone has already made a Freedom of Information Act application to get a formal answer from the BBC.

    https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/complaints_received_about_lack_o_2#incoming-1348782

    Personally, my unease is less about service personnel being accountable for alleged actions but that several of them now face prosecution after almost fifty years. Meanwhile the 1998 Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement permitted convicted IRA and Loyalist bombers and murderers to walk free in the interests of ‘peace’.
    A blatant imbalance of justice in my opinion.
     
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  2. Fibonarchie

    Fibonarchie Well-Known Member

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    I also think it’s very troublesome to convict people without the benefit of context. I wasn’t alive but I recognise the kind of fear and uncertainty at the time and I don’t think that is something that can be taken properly into account so long after. There is a huge difference between a soldier shooting someone on the street today and doing so in an environment such as NI at the time. I don’t know, but I think it’s something that has to be considered and I don’t think that can happen properly with such a situation now so foreign to most.
     
  3. Chelonian

    Chelonian Moderator

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    You missed out on flared purple corduroy trousers and the best creative years of The Pink Floyd. :)
    Just for clarity I was only aged twelve in 1972.

    The Bloody Sunday shootings have been investigated several times at public inquiries since 1972. The service personnel involved would have been rigorously interviewed by the Ministry of Defence and Police about the circumstances and had to account for every single round issued and fired.

    Before the personnel attended the subsequent public inquiries they would almost certainly have been briefed by the MoD and Security Services on what to say and—more importantly—what not to say. The individuals who have been implicated as witnesses or suspects in this historical investigation are now receiving legal support and funding by the MoD. This issue has the potential to be a very serious affair perhaps far beyond the alleged individual offences but my main concern is that individuals might be tossed under the bus.

    Edited to add: Former Royal Marine expressing his opinion on Granada TV's FB page:


    eid=ARAoZ4PNtHYS4mHI7oaS923RcWwSsce_VtxnUWGyPU3gFvj18aUiUACnb_fezMmXnPqBsKU3oTsYfR3L
     
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    Last edited: Apr 22, 2019
  4. Wings

    Wings Parachute Regiment

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    Considering the multiple bikes rides into london Marches and protests outside parliment. Yet again our paid for service bbc has turned a blind eye. We really shouldnt have to pay for that channel
     
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  5. Caversham

    Caversham Former RM Commando, Moderator

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    I posted in the Extinction Rebellion thread that I was in London that day:

    I was up in London last weekend and came across the Soldier F protest. It was without doubt very impressive, both in numbers and noise. All of Westminster Bridge, Parliament Square and Whitehall, up to the Cenotaph was a sea of bikers, maroon flags and a good smattering of RMs and other Army regiments. By contrast, we walked past Downing Street, where a few of these Green protesters were gathered.

    Guess who had the BBC cameras on them? BBC biased? You bet they are!


    The BBC, in my opinion, have shown that they are very biased and that has become very apparent these last few years, particularly with Brexit. My distrust of them goes back decades to the Falklands War when they broadcast on the World Service the plans to attack Goose Green. That foolhardy decision undoubtably cost lives.

    In the current climate and with their track record, I believe that a decision has been made, or a request from HMG has been received that has resulted in limited or no coverage at all on this campaign, which they will undoubtably deny.

    Alan
     
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  6. Chelonian

    Chelonian Moderator

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    The BBC is being inundated with formal questions about its coverage of Soldier F and the demonstrations being held to support him and others facing similar prosecutions.
    This extract of a letter from the BBC has been placed in the public domain by its recipient with permission to share as considered appropriate:

    Dear Lt Col (Retd) Handscomb

    Thank you for contacting us about BBC News coverage from April 12 regarding the Veterans Motorcycle Demonstration.

    We realise you felt the ‘Rolling Thunder’ rallies across the UK on April 12 should have received more attention on BBC News.

    BBC London News referred to the bikers’ arrival in the capital on Friday’s main evening bulletin, but it’s clear you felt it deserved more coverage.

    Many gatherings take place in cities around the UK and we do not cover them all. Instead, we consider each protest on a case by case basis and take into consideration the wider context of the story at hand. We have recently reported on the Bloody Sunday trial, including a range of voices reacting to the recent prosecution decision made regarding ‘Soldier F’. We’ll continue to follow the case and return to significant events as it progresses:

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/topics/c173jkgw9d3t/bloody-sunday

    Inevitably there may be disagreements about the level of prominence we give to different events, but as with all stories, we’ll continue to monitor the situation.

    We appreciate the feedback that our audience give us when it’s felt a story has been overlooked – it’s one of several factors which can inform our ongoing work.

    Thanks again for getting in touch.

    Kind Regards

    BBC Complaints Team
    www.bbc.co.uk/complaints <http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints>
     
  7. Caversham

    Caversham Former RM Commando, Moderator

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    A standard letter which would have been formulated by the BBC's Correspondence Unit, and placed within their Q & A file, so that anyone writing in will be given the exact same reply.

    What I find disturbing is that they will give national coverage to the prosecution of Soldier F and local coverage to 20000 plus supporters that brought central London to a standstill that day.

    Alan
     
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  8. Caversham

    Caversham Former RM Commando, Moderator

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    I wonder how the BBC will handle this then:

    Paras.jpg

    Alan
     
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  9. Chelonian

    Chelonian Moderator

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  10. Chelonian

    Chelonian Moderator

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    This short clip is about one year old but here's Andrew Neil giving UK cabinet minister Stephen Barclay a roasting about the clear lack of equivalence of justice:

     
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  11. Chelonian

    Chelonian Moderator

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    Johnny Mercer who is the MP for Plymouth Moor View has taken a very public stand on the matter of service personnel being subjected to historical prosecution.

    Mercer served in 29 Commando Royal Artillery before entering parliament.

    A sentence in his letter perhaps explains one reason behind his decision to support this cause:

    "Many are my friends; and I am from their tribe."

    JM_1.jpg

    JM2.jpg
     
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    Last edited: May 9, 2019
  12. Johnny_Anonie

    Johnny_Anonie Moderator

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    I'm not surprised that the military are having problems meeting their small recruiting targets. Many young people surely fear joining an organisation where your actions in the heat of the moment are scrutinised in every detail.

    At least 150 MPs have recognised this fact and have written to Theresa May protesting about the witch-hunt against our soldiers. But there really should be more of them.

    Let’s keep it up.
     
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  13. Collieryboy

    Collieryboy Member

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    @Chelonian I thought he was a captain in 29 commando?
     
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  14. rkec

    rkec Member

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    3 local people round here stood for the "Veterans and Democrats" Party against Labour. All 3 won their seats. Who'd have thought it, being proud of your country is an electoral bonus?

    Granted, I haven't a clue what they are a Veteran of but they won.
     
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  15. Chelonian

    Chelonian Moderator

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    You are correct. I mistook Johnny Mercer MP for Dan Jarvis MP.
    Jarvis is the former Para. I'll edit my earlier post accordingly. Thanks for pointing it out.
     
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  16. Chelonian

    Chelonian Moderator

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    Perhaps this is progress generally but Daily Telegraph clearly suggests that the prosecution of veterans who served in Northern Ireland will continue for political reasons:

    "Penny Mordaunt is to put forward legislation designed to ensure service personnel and veterans are not subjected to repeated investigations on historical operations, many years after the events in question.

    The proposals include introducing a statutory presumption against prosecution for current or former personnel for alleged offences committed in the course of duty abroad more than 10 years ago.

    The presumption, which will be subject to a short public consultation, will stipulate that prosecutions in such circumstances are not to be considered to be in the public interest, except in “exceptional circumstances”.

    Compelling new evidence would have to be presented to reopen old cases.

    However, the presumption against prosecution will not apply to legacy cases arising in Northern Ireland. Sources suggested that the political tensions in the province had made the issue too difficult to resolve.
    "

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/20...-armed-forces-veterans-prosecuted-historical/
     
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  17. rkec

    rkec Member

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    100% typical of this gimmick Government.

    I can't think of much worse if we'd just cut to the chase and elected Gerry Adams as PM.
     
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  18. Chelonian

    Chelonian Moderator

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  19. rkec

    rkec Member

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    Our top traitor at work

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politic...ay-betrayed-northern-ireland-veterans-facing/

    "
    Theresa May personally blocked ministers from proposing a new law that could have protected Northern Ireland veterans from facing murder charges, an explosive memo reveals.

    A private letter sent on the Prime Minister’s behalf orders that a government consultation on addressing unsolved murders during the Troubles “should not contain” proposals for a statute of limitations on historic prosecutions of military personnel.

    The official memo, drawn up by Mrs May’s assistant private secretary and seen by The Sunday Telegraph, also warns that veterans should be offered “equal, rather than preferential, treatment” relative to other groups affected by the consultation, which include terrorists.

    And it states that Mrs May wanted action to be taken “against any person who was operating outside of the parameters of the law” during the Troubles – an instruction likely to infuriate many Tory MPs and former soldiers who warn that veterans are being persecuted for actions they carried out on the orders of their superiors.

    Last night, Johnny Mercer, the Tory MP who has helped lead the campaign for legal protections, described the letter as a “sucker punch” and said Mrs May’s instructions amounted to a “betrayal” of troops who served in Northern Ireland.

    The document reveals for the first time that the Government’s failure to act on calls for a statute of limitations – effectively an amnesty for troops for offences more than a decade old – was as a result of Mrs May’s personal instructions.

    Mr Mercer said the letter contradicted Mrs May’s promise at her first Conservative conference in 2016 to better protect “the bravest of the brave”.

    “This equivocation with those who got up in the morning specifically to murder innocent civilians turns my stomach,” he writes in The Sunday Telegraph.

    General Lord Dannatt, the former head of the Army, said that, while no one was “above the law”, to treat veterans equally to terrorists “flies in the face of ultimate fairness”, given that the vast majority of killings during the Troubles were carried out by paramilitary groups.

    He questioned the value of the consultation, given that a “major option” was “ruled out right at the start”.

    The peer suggested the Prime Minister was probably led by “politics rather than justice” because of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP)’s opposition to a statute of limitations.

    Tory MPs, including Gavin Williamson, who was defence secretary until this month, insist that such a measure is necessary to prevent elderly veterans from being hauled through the courts for actions they carried out under orders up to half a century ago.

    Mr Williamson warned of a “witch hunt” if legal protections were not introduced.

    The veterans, whose cases have been highlighted by this newspaper, include Soldier F, a former paratrooper in his 70s who has been charged with two murders and four attempted murders during the events that took place on Bloody Sunday.


    But last week it emerged that, following the consultation, which took place last year, the Government was instead planning to launch a major inquiry examining allegations levelled at British soldiers.

    Separately, ministers are now planning to introduce a “presumption against prosecution” of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans more than 10 years after an alleged incident, except in “exceptional circumstances”. But the legislation will not apply to those who served in Northern Ireland.

    And last week, in comments that now appear sharply at odds with Mrs May’s position, Penny Mordaunt, the Defence Secretary, said: “I do think it should cover Northern Ireland.”

    The DUP, which is propping up Mrs May’s Government, has been calling for measures to stop the “hounding” of former soldiers.

    But the party opposes a statute of limitations on the basis it could also shield republican and loyalist terrorists.

    Last week, John Penrose, the Northern Ireland minister, said a statute of limitations, “according to human rights law, would have to apply to all sides of the conflict”.

    A No 10 source said: “We cannot countenance a proposal where amnesties would be provided to terrorists.”

    The Downing Street memo, dated March 2018, was sent to the Northern Ireland Office and Ministry of Defence as ministers and officials were preparing a consultation document on “addressing the legacy of Northern Ireland’s past”.


    It stated: “The Prime Minister has decided that the consultation document should not contain specific reference to a ‘statute of limitations’ or ‘amnesties’, in line with government policy.”

    The consultation, when it was published two months later, duly contained no references to a statute of limitations.

    A foreword by Karen Bradley, the Northern Ireland Secretary, made a reference to views “expressed in the April 2017 report published by the House of Commons defence committee”, which said veterans who served in Northern Ireland should be protected from further investigations by such a law.

    Mrs May told concerned Tory MPs at the time that the issue of a statute of limitations was “very important” – despite her private instructions which are revealed today.

    The memo went on: “The Ministry of Defence should work closely with the Northern Ireland office to ensure that their veterans package offers equal, rather than preferential, treatment

    relative to other groups or individuals affected by this consultation.”

    A government spokesman said: “The Ministry of Defence have proposed legislation to provide better support and stronger legal protections for serving and former personnel facing investigation over alleged historical offences overseas.

    “This will ensure veterans are not subject to repeated investigations many years after the events in question where there is no new evidence. A separate consultation has been run by Northern Ireland Office on how to deal with the past in Northern Ireland.”
     
  20. Chelonian

    Chelonian Moderator

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    "The peer suggested the Prime Minister was probably led by “politics rather than justice” because of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP)’s opposition to a statute of limitations."

    Plus opposition from IRA-Sinn Féin. The UK government's position in NI is even more fragile than it is on the mainland.
     
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