“PUMP LEAD AND WATCH THE BLOOD FLOW….”
BRITISH ARMY LIEUTENANT A.F.N. CLARKE : ‘When an IRA gunman is wounded and captured, they let him bleed to death. When they pull in suspects, they beat them up, quickly and almost casually: the rougher things are done at a higher level by the people who come and take the suspects away for proper interrogation. When they are off duty, the ‘toms’ improve the hour by sticking pins and razor blades into ‘baton rounds’ and filing bullets down into expanding ‘dum-dums’ (something British soldiers have done ever since the invention of the rifle). Clarke reconstructs his own thoughts: “I was really quite a nice guy before I came out here … build an outer casing round your emotions, enjoy the sense of power, revel in the excitement of the chase….”
To understand what the military occupation of an urban area by British paratroopers actually means, it is helpful to read the memoirs of Lieutenant A.F.N Clarke of 3 Para who completed a tour of duty in Belfast in early 1973. Clarke’s account gives an illuminating picture of undisciplined, racist thugs, spoiling for blood, unleashed on a defenceless civilian population.
Describing his “peacekeeping role”, he writes:
“The whole camp is praying for a contact. For an opportunity to shoot at anything in the street, pump lead into any living thing and watch the blood flow. Toms sitting in their overcrowded rooms putting more powder into baton rounds to give them more poke; some insert pins and broken razor blades into the rubber rounds. Buckshee rounds have had the heads filed down for a dum-dum effect, naughty, naughty, but who’s to know when there are so many spare rounds of ammunition floating about?
Lead filled truncheons, Magnum revolvers, one bloke even has a bowie knife…We have spent months and years training, learning from pamphlets called Shoot To Kill, Fighting In Built Up Areas and others. So now we’re let loose on the streets trained to the eyeballs, waiting for a suitable opportunity to let everything rip.
A few kills would be nice at this stage, good for morale, good to inject some new life into the jaded senses of the company….”
(From the above book , authored by Ciarán De Baróid.)
That British Army “pump-lead-into-any-living-thing-and-watch-the-blood-flow” murderous attitude is the same one which prevailed in the British Army and within their political leadership in the years before (and during) ‘Bloody Sunday’ and which prevails to this day within the approximate 5,000 British troops that maintain an armed presence in the Occupied Six Counties in Ireland. Indeed, that “…pump lead..” attitude was how Westminster managed its ‘affairs’ in the dozens of other countries it claimed as part of ‘the British Empire’. And it is that attitude , and that on-going unwanted presence , that Republican Sinn Féin will continue to campaign against.
Thanks for reading,