After a twelve-year inquiry, the Lord Saville probe of the 1972 "Bloody Sunday" killings in Derry came to a climax this afternoon (Irish time) with the release of his mammoth report. It found that the shooting of the thirteen marchers, largely young people, was completely "unjustified," none of them were posing any threat to the paratroopers, and many, as long charged ("How long must we sing this song"), were shot in the back or while crawling away injured. Prime Minister David Cameron apologized.
Following the coverage via BBC and The Guardian, I can report it's truly an amazing day in Ireland, the public riveted by Bloody Sunday report. While the report, to the surprise of many, found no true government coverup and recommended no murder charges, the families of victims may push for the latter. They expressed profound relief and sense of delayed justice in emotional speeches outside the Guild Hall in Derry shortly after the report's release, especially with the conclusion that all of the victims were indeed "innocent." It also found that many of the soldiers lied in their testimony.
Final two sentences of report summary: "What happened on Bloody Sunday strengthened the Provisional IRA, increased nationalist resentment and hostility towards the army and exacerbated the violent conflict of the years that followed. Bloody Sunday was a tragedy for the bereaved and the wounded, and a catastrophe for the people of Northern Ireland."
Here's the constantly updated blog at The Guardian, and see links to its original coverage in 1972 and many interactive features. Here's the full report, if you dare. One op-ed from Irish writer: Laying the ghosts to rest?
As long alleged, Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness was found to be carrying a machine gun that day—but there is no evidence that his actions provoked any of the killings.
Andrew Sullivan makes the interesting, if imperfect, link to Gaza and the flotilla killings.
I am wondering how the report treats the anonymous "Soldier 027" who became something of a whistleblower, if inadvertently. Read a new account of how his story came to light by journalist who did that. The soldier has been in a witness protection program since his account came to light back in the 1990s.
Certainly I recommend highly the 2002 Paul Greengrass film Bloody Sunday, which certainly anticipated these findings, and has a key character based on Soldier 027. A key adviser was Don Mullan, who wrote the best book on the subject, Eyewitness Bloody Sunday (which helped spark the Lord Saville probe) and became one of my long-distance friends after I wrote about the book and movie. Trailer for Bloody Sunday below and then U2 song with footage from that day: