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Last Updated: Friday, 18 March 2005, 14:19 GMT
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I thought your report was fine as far as it went but I cannot understand why you left out many other obvious examples from Northern Ireland. I would have accepted this if your possible line of reasoning was to keep it confined to a "non political" arena. However, at the end of your report you mentioned the Iraq war. No one denies that the Army in Northern Ireland, Iraq or else where has an almost impossible task. Nonetheless we all believe that the law of the land must be upheld, which I suspect was the main point of your report? The Interim Report by Sir John Stevens into collusion between the RUC's Special Branch, the British Army's Force Research Unit and loyalist paramilitaries was published on 17 April 2003. It finds that there was collusion over a long period of time, which led to the murder and serious injury of people targeted in the Catholic community. When the troops went to Iraq we were told that, unlike the American Army, the British Army has special "people skills in dealing with conflict situations. The fact of the matter is that there appears to be an element of lawlessness within the security services, which has been ignored for a long time. In conclusion, I cannot see how your report did not look at the broader cultural malaise of lawlessness, which would appear to be tolerated in the Army to a much greater degree than your report suggests.
John Maguire, England

I can't disguise my anger regarding the comments made by Brigadier Steven Andrews regarding these cases. His comments, particularly on the car crash death in Northern Ireland, leave his, and the Army's view on humanity open to question. I felt very sorry for the families on the receiving end of the army's pitiful approach to these tragic events. The brigadier, quite clearly during the broadcast interview, had not researched these cases. I'd like to believe that he would be ashamed at some of his answers. I work within the prison service. A service itself known for it's failings and lack of virtues. If I had any part in such a woeful neglect of duty, I would resign, and quickly. The programme left me angry, ashamed, tearful. It also made me want to know more.
Richey Seaman, Beverley, East Yorkshire, England.

Nothing I, or anyone else could do would make the pain of Sally's death any easier to her family. I can understand that they feel the need to do everything they can to stop this happening again to another family so that Sally's death wasn't in vain. However, blaming the Army is not the answer. They too have to obey the laws of the land and thanks to "do gooders" who now scream "Violation of human rights" every time confidentiality is "breached" it makes it impossible for the Army to take the law into its own hands. They are damned if they do and damned if they don't! There was a time when a soldier who had been accused of any crime against a woman or child would have been "dealt with." They wouldn't wait for a court to deal with one of their own. Now you cannot even raise your voice in fear of charges being placed against you. I do agree that intelligence between the forces and the civilian police should be merged and categorised so that "internal incidents" of a much lesser nature are not then used against law abiding soldiers. Please do not think for one moment I am defending the Army. If what we are told is true and that they did not get in touch with the police once Sally's disappearance had gone public, that too should be addressed at the highest level. Soldiers have a hard enough job with their public perception. My husband and I were deeply shocked and saddened by Sally's death before we knew that a soldier was involved. Once it became public knowledge that her murderer was a soldier we then felt total shame.
S. Burton, Canada

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File on 4: Military justice: BBC Radio 4 on Tuesday 1 March, 2005 at 2000 GMT.

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