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Eamonn McCann: David Cameron’s stomach-churning hypocrisy

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After the release of the Saville report Eamonn McCann, who was present at Bloody Sunday, writes about the British government’s hypocrisy over Afghanistan and Iraq
Issue 2207

If David Cameron seriously believed that slaughtering unarmed civilians is wrong, he would cancel the imminent deployment of the Parachute Regiment to Afghanistan, where in the past year, around 2,000 civilians have been killed by US and British troops.

In almost all cases, the same lies have been told—the dead were “Taliban militants”, and so forth.

If Cameron believed that military misdemeanours should be subject to public scrutiny under the law, his government would stop its relentless obstruction of inquiries into the deaths of 20 civilians in operation Danny Boy in Basra, southern Iraq, in May 2004.

Local people are adamant that civilians tending their fields near the scene of an earlier battle were rounded up by soldiers of the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment and taken to Camp Abu Naji where, it is alleged, many were tortured and some killed.

The community around Majar al-Kabir has been campaigning for six years for a public inquiry.

Neither the last government nor Cameron’s has responded to them with anything other than obstruction, hostility, lies and contempt.

The case for an inquiry is currently being argued by lawyers for the families in the High Court in London. The government is opposing them every inch of the way.

Government and military lawyers continue to insist that the dead and tortured were all members of the insurgent Mahdi army.

The five civilians in whose name the case is being taken include two farmers, a student, a taxi driver and a baker. Their families say that they had “absolutely nothing” to do with the Mahdi army.

Death certificates in the case describe “Several gunshot wounds to body—severance of sexual organs”… “Gunshot to head”… “Gunshot in face, pulling out of the eye, breaking the jaw, gunshot to the chest.”

Other witness statements describe Iraqis being shot at close range, held down while being strangled to death, heads yanked back and throats cut.

Cameron, like Blair and Brown, is determined to thwart the relatives of those treated in this abominable manner in their campaign for truth and justice.

His Commons statement last week about the outcome of the Saville inquiry was stomach-churning hypocrisy.

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