Panorama, SAS Death Squads Exposed: A British War Crime?: via @bbciplayer


Take a look at this post… ‘Six Irish Guards held on drugs and money-laundering offences’.

Family of man shot by British Army to take legal action against PPS

John Copeland was shot dead by the British army in October 1971
The widow of a north Belfast man shot dead by the British army almost 50 years ago is set to launch legal action over a decision by prosecutors not to order a new PSNI investigation into the killing. 
Isobel Copeland’s husband John died in October 1971. Mr Copeland (23) was shot close to his Ardoyne home by a member of the Green Howards regiment and died two days later. Just before he was killed another man, Michael McLarnon, was shot by troops in nearby Etna Drive and died a short time later. Mr Copeland’s widow is currently suing the Ministry of Defence for the alleged unlawful killing of her husband. In 2014 Attorney General John Larkin refused a request to order a fresh inquest into the case. However, after the release of a draft Historical Enquiries Team (HET) report by the RUC/PSNI, Mr Larkin was asked to revisit his original decision. In response he wrote to the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) asking them to direct the RUC/PSNI to investigate the shooting.
The PPS has subsequently refused to make what is known as a section 35 (5) referral.
“We have been fighting this for 15 years and it’s [still] going around. Hopefully we will get some sort of closure” Eddie Copeland 
Mr Copeland’s son, prominent Belfast republican Eddie Copeland, said his family was disappointed by the latest decision. “Legacy cases are just dragging their heels and it’s really disappointing,” he said. “My mother is going into her seventies and we want some sort of closure for her before it’s too late.” Mr Copeland said he is mindful of other family’s who lost love and that his family is determined to continue their campaign despite the latest set back.
Sectarianism, Murder, Collusion, RUC, PSNI, MI5, Loyalists, UVF, Stormont, UDA,
“I was one and half when my father was killed and my sister two and a half,” he said. “Between us there will be someone there to fight. “We have been fighting this for 15 years and it’s [still] going around. “Hopefully we will get some sort of closure.” Solicitor Kevin Winters, of KRW Law, said as a result of the Attorney General’s intervention the Copeland family had “raised expectations that at last their case would be looked at”. “With decisions like this you cannot blame families if they become disillusioned,” he said. Mark Thompson from Relatives for Justice, who has helped the Family, said: “Rather than acting in the interest of justice it appears the PPS is content with this continuing situation. “This is unacceptable.” A spokesman for the PPS said: “While we understand why families may view a section 35(5) request as a vehicle by which their case can be expedited, the Director of Public Prosecutions considered such a request inappropriate in this case. “The reasons for this have previously been outlined in a letter to the legal representatives of the Copeland family.”
With many thanks to: The Irish News and Connla Young for the original story 


Cases against six retired British soldiers to continue

LEGAL cases in the North of Ireland against six retired British soldiers will not be affected by government efforts to prevent what it has described as “vexatious prosecutions”, it has been reported.

A very rare photograph of ‘Soldier F’ which was taken in Co Derry in 1972

Cases are expected to proceed to trial against six former British soldiers including ‘Soldier F’, who faces murder charges over Bloody Sunday in Derry in 1972. The British government has been preparing legislation claimed to stop “vexatious” prosecutions of soldiers linked to the Troubles. The Sunday Times reported that the legislation will not affect the cases already under way, for which trials are expected to start at the end of this year or early in 2021. Government sources told the paper the legislation would not pass through parliament until the end of this year at the earliest.

“There is no existing mechanism for the government to step in with respect to prosecutions in the North of Ireland that are currently on going,” a senior government source said. “Changing the position regarding the government’s powers over prosecutions in the North of Ireland would require primary legislation and would be contrary to the devolution of policing and justice.” Tory MP Bob Stewart, a retired colonel, told the Sunday Times: “I don’t think this is justice for our soldiers who have been investigated number times and then brought before the North of Ireland courts. The prime minister promised he going to sort this out.” UK defence secretary Ben Wallace defended the government’s plans. “The government has repeatedly committed to ensuring equal treatment for veterans, most recently by the prime minister,” he said. “We continue to work with colleagues to deliver on that commitment and end the scourge of vexatious claims and repeated investigations.”

With many thanks to: The Irish News for the original story 

Deal gives confidence to ex-soldiers and those seeking truth says PM

“There will be no unfair prosecutions of people who served their country where there is no new evidence to bring forward” Boris Johnson 


STORMONT’S new power-sharing deal strikes the right balance between supporting former soldiers and giving victims of violence the truth, Boris Johnson said.

CONTROVERSIAL: Members of the Justice of Northern Ireland Veterans group outside the Supreme Court in London in March. PICTURE: Kirsty O’Connor/PA

Mechanisms agreed by the parties as part of the 2014 Stormont House Agreement are finally set to be implemented as part of last week’s accord. They include the creation of a Historical Investigations Unit to examine unsolved cases, an Independent Commission on Information Retrieval, and Oral History Archive. However, the Conservatives’ general election manifesto pledges that there will be no unfair prosecutions of former soldiers where there is no new evidence. Mr Johnson was asked about the potential contradiction by The Irish News at Stormont on Monday January 13th.

Justice for Northern Ireland Veterans

“I think that the parties here who have revived Stormont have done a very good job of finding a balance between giving people who are in search of the truth and the confidence that they need but also giving people who served our country in the armed services the confidence and certainty that they need,” he said. “We will certainly be going forward as a UK government with our manifesto commitment that you will recollect to ensure that there will be no unfair prosecutions of people who served their country where there is no new evidence to bring forward and I think that is the right balance to be struck.”

British Army murderers

A UK government source acknowledged it would not be easy to balance the commitments made in the Stormont deal and the Tory manifesto. “I’m not pretending this is easy, it isn’t,” he said. We are fully aware we have two different commitments and we need to work our way through them.” British veterans minister Johnny Mercer acknowledged there would be “a lot of questions” around legacy issues but also insisted the government remained committed to protecting former troops from vexatious prosecutions.

With many thanks to: The Irish News for the original story 

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Aidan McAnespie: Former soldier to stand trial for shooting – BBC News

Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar: HUMILIATED
British Army Murderers

UK would be ‘outgunned’ in Russian conflict – think-tank

British ground forces would be “comprehensively outgunned” in a conflict with Russia in Eastern Europe, according to a defence think-tank.

Research by the Royal United Services Institute (Rusi) found that the Army, as well as NATO allies, has a “critical shortage” of artillery and ammunition

It concluded that it could not maintain a credible defence position.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said the UK works closely with Nato and is “well equipped to take on a leading role”.

The research comes ahead of a meeting of Nato leaders in London next week to mark the 70th anniversary of the alliance.

The UK, along with other Nato members, has positioned military forces in Eastern Europe to deter any potential Russian aggression in the wake of Moscow’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.

Around 800 British troops are currently stationed in Estonia. The first were sent in 2017.

Nato alliance is brain dead, says Macron
Strength of British military falls for ninth year
MoD ‘facing £7bn funding black hole’
But the study by Rusi found that the UK armed forces lack critical firepower compared to Russia’s military.

It analysed military capabilities in the “unlikely” context of “a high-intensity conflict between Nato and Russia, in which the UK has promised to deliver a warfighting division”.

“At present, there is a risk that the UK – unable to credibly fight – can be dominated lower down the escalation ladder by powers threatening escalation,” the report said.

It said Britain is “comprehensively outgunned and outranged”, leaving enemy artillery free to defeat UK units.

Russian artillery and rocket batteries have already proved to be potent, destroying two Ukrainian battalions in 2014 within minutes.

UK and other Nato forces not only have a limited number of artillery pieces, but also a shortage of munitions stockpiles and transportation.

The report said the “rejuvenation and modernisation” of Britain’s ground-based artillery is an “urgent and critical priority”.

In response, the MoD said: “The UK does not stand alone but alongside its Nato Allies, who work closely together across air, sea, land, nuclear and cyber to deter threats and respond to crises.”

It added: “As the largest Nato defence spender in Europe, the UK’s armed forces are well equipped to take a leading role in countering threats and ensuring the safety and security of British people at home and abroad.”

The statement comes less than three weeks after French President Emmanuel Macron described Nato as “brain dead” – stressing what he sees as waning commitment to the transatlantic alliance by its main guarantor, the US.

MoD figures released in August found that the size of Britain’s armed forces had fallen for a ninth consecutive year.

The finding came just six months after the Commons spending watchdog, the Public Accounts Committee, claimed the MoD had a funding black hole of at least £7bn in its 10-year plan to equip the UK’s armed forces.

Number of full-time trained personnel
Source: Ministry of Defence
A delegation of Russian military personnel visited Scotland last year to observe one of Europe’s largest Nato exercises.

The visit was in line with the UK’s obligations to the Vienna Document which aims to promote mutual trust and transparency among states signed to it.

It came as UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres claimed the Cold War was “back with a vengeance” as he warned abut the dangers of escalating tensions over Syria.

With many thanks to: BBC News England for the original story 


Child murder, torture and sexual abuse by British troops covered up by government, report alleges | The Independent




SHAME: Former SAS chief Andy Whiddett was honoured by the Queen for his services in the North of Ireland – but now he’s banged up in prison. 

A SENIOR British Army officer-jailed for a catalogue of child sex crimes-masterminded the murder of three young Irish republicans.

Andrew Whiddett is pictured here with his second wife Lani leaving Croydon Crown Court in London at an earlier hearing on April 23rd.

Andrew Whiddett-banged up for three years and two months after he pleaded guilty to abusing kids abroad-is a former member of the SAS. Lieutenant Colonel Whiddett served several tours of duty in the North of Ireland during the mid-1980s. And he was rewarded with an MBE from the Queen. Whiddett worked undercover in the Bogside and Creggan areas of Derry, which included carrying out close quarter surveillance on deceased Sinn Féin leader Martin McGuinness. But we can reveal the 70-year-old pervert also led the team which shot dead IRA men Charles Breslin (20), and brothers Michael (22) and David Devine (16), in Strabane nearly 35 years ago. The men were ambushed by British soldiers as they were about to dump their weapons following a failed IRA operation.


In May this year, Croydon Crown Court heard how Whiddett-a former Head of Security at the British Embassy in Baghdad-directed ‘livestreamed abuse’ of children in the Philippines. Whiddett-who graduated from Sandhurst Military College alongside Princess Ann’s first husband Mark Phillips-had used his laptop to contact known Filipino child sex facilitators in Manila. And using the Skype, he directed the sexual abuse of young girls from the comfort of his home on the south coast of England. On one occasion he messaged the young girl’s mother with: “Lots of teaching before I arrive.”


But detectives from the National Crime Agency were able to prove Whiddett had made 49 payments totalling £8,584 for various live sex services involving children. And in court he admitted attempting to cause or incite a nine-year-old girl and another aged under 16 to engage in sexual activity. He also pleaded guilty to arranging the commission of a child sex offence in September 2016. The National Crime Agency said he told his contact in Manila that he wanted to sexually abuse a child when he visited the Philippines the following month.


Whiddett also admitted three further charges of making indecent photographs of a child. Sending the ex-SAS man to jail for three years and two months, Judge Nicolas Ainley also put him on the Sex Offenders Register indefinitely. And he told him: “I’m well aware of the service dedicated to this country, but children-wherever they are in the world-need protected from this sort of activity.” Detectives from the NCA gripped Whiddett as he made his way through Heathrow Airport shortly after he had returned to the UK from Manila. He made a number of admissions, but insisted he was only sexually interested in mature women. He was lying.

NCA National Crime Agency

NCA officer Gary Fennelly said: “Andrew Whiddett was directly responsible for the soul-destroying abuse of children thousands of miles away from him. “He thought he could get away with abusing Filipino children from the comfort of his own home.” The police officer revealed that in one computer conversation with a woman in Manila, Whiddett made it clear he wanted to sexually abuse her little girl when he visited the Philippines in a few weeks’ time. During a 25-minute exchange on September 28th 2016, the former SAS man asked a Philippine woman if the young girl with her would be available when he arrives. And he said: “Need to do more teaching. Look forward to touch” and “lots of teaching before I arrive.” Whiddett further asked the woman: “If I visit would you let me see daughter?” and “If I visit what would you allow me to do?” Travel records show Whiddett flew to Manila in the Philippines on October 21st 2016. Whiddett, of Portsmouth, Hampshire, was arrested at Heathrow Airport on October 31st 2017. And after his conviction at Croydon Crown Court, he was jailed in May this year, although full details of the case have only recently emerged.

GUNNED DOWN: from left, Charles Breslin and brothers Michael and David Devine had no escape

Provos’ top team that scared cops wanted taken out

RUC top brass were so concerned for the safety of their officers in Strabane in 1985 that they called in the SAS, the Sunday World has learned.

A series of intelligence reports read by senior officers early in the New Year revealed a ruthless IRA unit based in Strabane was determined to kill a policeman. Led by OC 20-year-old Charles Breslin, the IRA team had already engaged in several gun attacks on the heavily fortified RUC station. On one occasion, Breslin jumped up on a rear perimeter wall and he sprayed machine-gun fire at officers as they made their way across the car park. Eye-witnesses say it was a miracle no one was killed. But Detective Superintendent Sam Donaldson-who was in charge of Special Branch in the North West-had received permission from Margaret Thatcher’s office to call on the services of the SAS. Some months before, 36-year-old Major Andrew Whiddett had gone to Donaldson with a blueprint of how he and his SAS team proposed to abduct senior republican Martin McGuinness, before weighting his body and drowning him in the Atlantic Ocean.


Although the senior RUC man rejected the plan out of hand, he asked him to work out a way of neutralising the Strabane IRA using lethal force if necessary. Whiddett travelled to Strabane every day for a week from his base at Fort George in Derry. He read intelligence reports and studied the lie of the land around known IRA arms dumps in the border town. A few days later on February 23rd, an opportunity presented itself. And Whiddett lost no time in scrambling his team. The SAS men staked out an IRA arms dump near the Head of the Town district. And when Charlie Breslin showed up with fellow IRA men Michael and David Devine, they knew they were in business.

The police in Strabane began receiving a series of telephone calls from concerned locals claiming a man had been spotted brandishing an axe in the Head of the Town. But it was a ruse to lure cops into the area and so they stayed put. The Tom and Jerry routine lasted hours. And when no police had taken the bait by the early hours of the morning, the IRA men decided to return their weapons. As Breslin and the Devine brothers neared the hidden arms dump in a field, the SAS team revealed themselves and on Whiddett’s orders they opened fire. The relentless sound of gunfire echoed around the town as the SAS pumped 117 rounds in the direction of the IRA men. Michael Devine (22), from Courtral Park, was hit 28 times. An RUC patrol was quickly dispatched from the police station. And one officer who was present told the Sunday World this week: “It sounded to us as though World War Three had broken out. “I saw three dead bodies and there were dozens of spent shells glistening in the early morning light. “I had a machine-gun in my hand. And an SAS man-who was also holding a machine-gun-told me to shoot out a streetlight.

“But I just told him, ‘Shoot it out yourself’ and he did!”he said. He added: “The next thing, a helicopter landed and the SAS men were gone.” At the scene, the RUC recovered a large stockpile of IRA weapons, but the sheer brutality of the murders caused outrage among the Catholic community. Many believed the IRA team-which included 16-year-old David Devine-could easily have been disarmed and arrested. On May 7th 2002 at the High Court in Belfast, the families of the dead IRA men accepted undisclosed compensation from the Ministry of Defence. The Sunday World understands it was in the region of £90,000 for each of the deceased. The murders remain controversial. Locals reported that after the hail of gunfire, three final shots rang out against the dawn sky. Witnesses say that in the seconds before the last shots they heard local voices cry out, “Don’t shoot, don’t shoot”. An English voice is said to have replied, “You’re too fucking late mate.”

With many thanks to the: Sunday World and Hugh Jordan for the EXCLUSIVE original

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Ex-soldier to have dialysis while on trial over Troubles shooting

Ex-soldier Dennis Hutchings is pictured outside Plymouth Crown Court stands accused of shooting a vulnerable man with learning difficulties in the back three timesAn army veteran being prosecuted over the killing of a man during the Troubles 45 years ago will endure a much longer trial so he can undergo kidney dialysis.

Dennis Hutchings, 78, who is dying of renal failure, has agreed to appear in person at his trial being held in Northern Ireland.

He had previously vowed not to attend, refusing to recognise the authority of a court in which he had been deprived of the right to a trial by jury.

However, a barrister for Mr Hutchings told Belfast Crown Court his client would appear in person during the non-jury trial, to take place in March.

Proceedings will have to be postponed at least two days each week so that Mr Hutchings can be taken to a hospital in Belfast for dialysis.

The delays will effectively double the length of the trial.

Mr Hutchings, a former member of the Life Guards regiment, has pleaded not guilty to the attempted murder of a man with learning difficulties during the conflict.

John Pat Cunningham was 27-years-old who was a vulnerable adult with learning difficulties and was shot in the back three times. Shot down in cold blood

John Pat Cunningham, 27, died after being shot in the back as he ran away from an Army patrol near Benburb, Co Tyrone, in 1974.

The case has become a cause célèbre on both sides.

Mr Hutchings will be the first veteran to stand trial over a fresh wave of investigations being conducted by police looking at historic allegations during the conflict.

Mr Hutchings, from Cawsand in Cornwall, also denies attempted grievous bodily harm with intent.

In September, he appeared before a judge in Belfast by video link from Plymouth for his arraignment hearing.

Afterwards, he told hundreds of supporters outside Plymouth Crown Court that he would not attend the trial as he did not recognise the legitimacy of the system.

He previously failed in a Supreme Court challenge against the decision to hear his case without a jury.

At Belfast Crown Court yesterday, Ian Turkington, his barrister, told Mr Justice Colton: “It is his intention to participate in the trial here.”

Mr Turkington said arrangements were being made with Belfast City Hospital to enable Mr Hutchings to undergo dialysis, and he may require treatment three times a week by March.

The judge replied: “I will obviously accommodate any treatment that is required.”

Charles MacCreanor QC, for the prosecution, said it was important that Mr Hutchings had indicated he would attend after his previous “public pronouncements” had caused “concern”.

With many thanks to: The Telegraph and Robert Mendick for the original story 

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