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Dennis Hutchings trial in NI

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Dennis Hutchings trial in NI

Old 13th May 2020, 18:32
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Dennis Hutchings trial in NI

Just a reminder that this old soldier is soon to be put through a politically motivated trial. The kind of trial that many actual IRA/INLA murderers will never face.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/justice4veterans/

dig deep if you can and let’s try to stop this travesty going ahead.
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Old 13th May 2020, 19:47
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Quote: The kind of trial that many actual IRA/INLA murderers will never face.

Ah yes indeed.
And shall we add the UDA and UVF as well?
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Old 13th May 2020, 21:42
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Originally Posted by Black Sun View Post
Ant, Dennis Hutchings was a soldier doing his job not a political/religous fanatic from either side so please don't start with the devisive them and us nonsense
I was going to say I sincerely hope the shooting dead of a mentally disabled man running away from them was not a British soldier “doing his job”, but then some of the behaviour of members of all sides in the troubles, including British armed forces would indicate otherwise. I have a great deal of sympathy for the stress endured by the ordinary soldier during the troubles, but the shooting dead of an unarmed, mentally disabled civilian who posed no immediate threat to them has been investigated and deemed worthy of court.
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Old 14th May 2020, 05:12
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Originally Posted by Una Due Tfc View Post
I was going to say I sincerely hope the shooting dead of a mentally disabled man running away from them was not a British soldier “doing his job”, but then some of the behaviour of members of all sides in the troubles, including British armed forces would indicate otherwise. I have a great deal of sympathy for the stress endured by the ordinary soldier during the troubles, but the shooting dead of an unarmed, mentally disabled civilian who posed no immediate threat to them has been investigated and deemed worthy of court.
Do you think protesters, trouble makers et al go around with a flashing light on their heads indicating "I am mentally disabled but mean no harm"?
And when you say "worthy of court", read this man's story again. How many times did the investigating authorities investigate and determine there was no case to answer?
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Old 14th May 2020, 07:13
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Originally Posted by KelvinD View Post
Do you think protesters, trouble makers et al go around with a flashing light on their heads indicating "I am mentally disabled but mean no harm"?
And when you say "worthy of court", read this man's story again. How many times did the investigating authorities investigate and determine there was no case to answer?
Exactly.

We put armed young men in a position where they were constantly under threat, from pretty much anyone in the local community, and then expected them to always be 100% right when making a split second decision under stress. There were a lot of unintended victims during the Troubles, the vast majority a result of deliberate acts by terrorists (who have since been pardoned), a very few the result of someone innocent just being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
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Old 14th May 2020, 08:56
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Originally Posted by KelvinD View Post
Do you think protesters, trouble makers et al go around with a flashing light on their heads indicating "I am mentally disabled but mean no harm"?
And when you say "worthy of court", read this man's story again. How many times did the investigating authorities investigate and determine there was no case to answer?
Okay so, a not obviously armed civilian, running away from the soldiers constitutes a fair target? And each soldier initially saying they couldn’t remember who opened fire, the rifles then disappearing? There’s certainly a smell of a coverup, which isn’t unusual for these incidents.

I am also sickened by terrorists literally getting away with murder, but I would ask, do you believe your armed forces should be held to the same standard as the IRA, UVF etc or a higher one?

There are certain atrocities committed by the British army during the troubles that deserve to be fully aired in public. Bloody Sunday is one, likewise the shooting of Carol Ann Kelly, an 11 year old girl walking home with a bottle of milk, the various other children who were fatally shot by soldiers, or Stephen McConomy, an 11 year old boy who was fatally shot whilst playing on his street by 2 British soldiers from inside their armoured vehicle, and then threatened to shoot the other children if they attempted to help him while he bled out on the road. The RUC never investigated these killings, but that’s hardly surprising, there was a unit within the the RUC who met up on their days off and randomly killed people in Catholic areas, their existence was well known within the organisation.

Those who committed similar atrocities in paramilitaries should, in my opinion, face justice, but your Government’s decision to pardon them should not excuse those in the armed forces from their crimes. And let’s not forget the line between those forces and paramilitaries was very blurred, with RUC and Army often providing intelligence and assistance to Loyalist paramilitaries to carry out murder, E.G the Miami Showband massacre. The role of UK forces in the Dublin and Monaghan bombings has been sealed for 100 years. I wish I could live long enough to see that.

Last edited by Una Due Tfc; 14th May 2020 at 09:11.
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Old 14th May 2020, 12:50
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do you believe your armed forces should be held to the same standard as the IRA, UVF etc or a higher one?
To the same standard. It is immoral to pardon one group of participants in a conflict and prosecute another: there can be no exceptions. Either you pardon all participants or none. If soldiers can be brought to civil court decades after being dealt with under the military law that applied to them at the time, the pardons of everyone else must also be suspended. They should all then be brought before the same civil courts.

There are however problems with evidence from such a long time ago. Modern psychology has ample evidence that memories are modified with the passing of time and that false memories can be implanted by seemingly casual events. Put simply, memories cannot be trusted decades after the event. My wife remembers watching the moon landings on television and her grandfather saying the images weren't real and the landing was being faked. She remains firmly attached to this memory despite my pointing out that her grandfather died in 1967, two years before the moon landings.
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Old 14th May 2020, 14:03
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Originally Posted by Una Due Tfc View Post
Okay so, a not obviously armed civilian, running away from the soldiers constitutes a fair target? And each soldier initially saying they couldn’t remember who opened fire, the rifles then disappearing? There’s certainly a smell of a coverup, which isn’t unusual for these incidents.
That's one version of what happened. I'm sure there are others. And it takes no account of all the circumstances at the time when the troops may have been under attack.
The whole philosophy of the terrorists was to put the troops under pressure and lead them into traps. It's a common tactic for innocent people to be pushed in front of troops, as cover. Of course mistakes are made under such circumstances, and when an innocent person was shot that was a victory for the IRA and their sympathisers. They were entirely comfortable with innocents being killed, as demonstrated by their bombing campaign.
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Old 14th May 2020, 15:02
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Being realistic for a moment, what should any rational person expect would happen when soldiers, who were armed and trained to kill people, are given the job of being policemen?

This goes back more than 50 years, when training for soldiers was pretty heavily focussed on killing and avoiding being killed, whilst keeping fit to fight, not making judgement calls as to whether a potential enemy was really trying to kill them or not. Soldiers then weren't trained the way we now train police firearms officers, to make near-instant judgement calls, neither were they trained like police officers with regard to the law. Putting young lads, trained as they were, in a hostile situation that was not a war, but where they faced snipers and bombers trying to kill them every day, was never going to end well. Trying to apply the standards we'd expect from a trained police firearms officer today, to the training given to soldiers, some of whom were little more than teenagers, all these years ago is absurd. They were, in the main, doing a near-impossible task that they'd been ordered to do, with kit that was wholly unsuitable for the environment, and with a bare minimum of protection. Let's not forget that one reason that the SA80 was changed mid-design to a bullpup was because of the need for a short weapon for use in NI (a decision that contributed to the many reasons that the SA80 ended up being unreliable - the gas port wasn't moved when the weapon was shortened and re-chambered for 5.56).

As above, if we're prepared to draw a line underneath the abominable acts of the terrorists in this conflict, many of whom were little more than gangsters, then we should do the same for young soldiers who were sent out there. If any blame needs to be thrown around, then it should be aimed at the government and the leaders of the paramilitary organisations, as they are the ones who are really to blame for all these unnecessary killings.
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Old 14th May 2020, 17:03
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I can't agree with you there VP. Training did indeed focus on killing and avoiding being killed. It was clear to all that making a judgement call as to whether or not someone was trying to kill you was incumbent on the soldier on the ground, whether that was yourself or someone of higher rank. And, to reinforce this, in areas of conflict soldiers were issued with "Instructions for opening fire", tailored to the locale in which you were operating. Have a look at a copy of the same card I was issued with in Aden:
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The following year, as the terrorism was ramped up and we drew nearer to our withdrawal, this card was superseded by a red one with slightly different wording, mainly telling you to open fire if you thought you were about to be attacked.
Notice how the instructions place great emphasis on the need to use minimum force. But, once an attempt at using minimum force has failed, then open fire to kill. (That too was part of the training; you only ever pointed a weapon at a person if you intended to open fire and you only opened fire to kill).
Re the SA80, I was quite glad to have missed that episode. Most people don't understand the logic of going from the 7.62mm SLR to the SA80. It was down to a veteran of Arnhem (Gen Horrocks, I think) who had noticed how a wounded soldier took up a lot more of the enemy's assets dealing with injured soldiers. So, just wound the buggers and tie up thousands of their comrades, dealing with bandages, administering blood, carrying stretchers etc. forgetting that likely enemies of NATO (Russia or China) tend to treat their wounded as duck boards over which the following hordes can gallop! I have heard people say the replacement of the SLR was a good idea as the SA80 was smaller and lighter. Not really, I remember weighing mine on night and it was 10.25 lbs with loaded magazine. I believe the SA80 comes out broadly similar.

Re the mention of Bloody Sunday; I, as an ex soldier (so open to accusations of bias) would say we have had enough of that! How many millions of the UK tax payer's money have been squandered on inquiries? Particularly the second one, set up presumably because the first one didn't produce the outcome certain parties didn't want. Put yourself in the position of the Paras on that day. When in an urban setting and on edge and a shot is heard 2 things happen:
1. You have no real idea of the origin of the shot. A shot fired in a built up area produces sounds that are almost impossible to pin point.
2. Your self preservation sense goes into overdrive and you could quite possibly convince yourself that something is happening when it really isn't. You would say to your mates "Did you hear that? Rifle shot from that building etc". Even if you are mistaken, you find yourself and your mates agreeing on what happened and where, and the whole incident can quickly snowball with a lot of confirmation bias going on. In a matter of milliseconds, the incident takes on a life of its own and becomes fact to those involved.
It may sound glib but the best way for that particular incident may have been for the IRA to have told people not to go out there and wind up the soldiers. The bottom line there was the victims were set up and the IRA got just what they wanted. And now Gerry Adams's lawyer is looking for vengeance via other means.
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Old 14th May 2020, 18:01
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Surely part of the problem, without wishing in any way to be critical, is what we can reasonably expect from soldiers that often come from a background where they've had minimal education and may not always be the brightest. Years ago, when my wife was having a break from nursing, she spent some time doing an admin job at a local army barracks. Much of her work was dealing with courts martial admin, and she'd come home from work amazed as some of the insanely stupid things that soldiers had got up to. At the time, I was sharing an office with a REME Lt Col, and I mentioned this to him. His reply was that we needed to remember where the army recruited many soldiers from, the sink estates across the country. He also remarked that the army invested a great deal of time and money in teaching basic literacy to new recruits, as often they hadn't really had much in the way of education before joining up.

Was it reasonable, all those years ago, to put soldiers into a non-combat situation, where they were still going to come under fire, and be at risk from bombs and booby traps, and then expect there to be no errors of judgment? I don't think it was at all. I doubt that any soldier serving in NI deliberately chose to kill innocent civilians, but, given the large number of attacks upon them it seems inevitable that errors of judgement will have been made. I suspect that there may well have been a fair amount of covering up going on, too, but suspect that most of that may well have been soldiers covering up for their mates in what I'd imagine was a bloody difficult deployment.
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Old 17th May 2020, 08:03
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There are certain atrocities committed by the British army during the troubles that deserve to be fully aired in public. Bloody Sunday is one,
McGuiness admitted that he almost certainly fired the first shot. The atrocity was on the part of the IRA who knew, only too well, that the troops would not open fire in those circumstances unless first fired upon.
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Old 17th May 2020, 09:18
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Originally Posted by VP959 View Post
Surely part of the problem, without wishing in any way to be critical, is what we can reasonably expect from soldiers that often come from a background where they've had minimal education and may not always be the brightest. Years ago, when my wife was having a break from nursing, she spent some time doing an admin job at a local army barracks. Much of her work was dealing with courts martial admin, and she'd come home from work amazed as some of the insanely stupid things that soldiers had got up to. At the time, I was sharing an office with a REME Lt Col, and I mentioned this to him. His reply was that we needed to remember where the army recruited many soldiers from, the sink estates across the country. He also remarked that the army invested a great deal of time and money in teaching basic literacy to new recruits, as often they hadn't really had much in the way of education before joining up.

Was it reasonable, all those years ago, to put soldiers into a non-combat situation, where they were still going to come under fire, and be at risk from bombs and booby traps, and then expect there to be no errors of judgment? I don't think it was at all. I doubt that any soldier serving in NI deliberately chose to kill innocent civilians, but, given the large number of attacks upon them it seems inevitable that errors of judgement will have been made. I suspect that there may well have been a fair amount of covering up going on, too, but suspect that most of that may well have been soldiers covering up for their mates in what I'd imagine was a bloody difficult deployment.
Again, I have to take issue with your comments here. I had the pleasure of serving with a company of the South Wales Borderers. I learned first hand of the literacy levels of some of the soldiers and they were mixed. As for their coming from sink estates, that also was not true. A great proportion of them came from rural areas of Warwickshire, Herefordshire and (believe it or not!) South Wales. Whether or not from sink estates, the average British soldier is very disciplined and one lesson they carry with them from sink estate upbringing is "Do as you are told". The average Private would not think about opening fire unless he could see either he was in grave danger of being shot himself or he had orders to open fire. Of course, there will be the exception to the rule but they are dealt with and punished.
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