The British Army officer at the heart of Bloody Sunday controversy, General Mike Jackson is likely to be criticised by the long-awaited Chilcott inquiry into Britain’s decision to join the US in invading Iraq, according to The Guardian today.
Along with several other high-ranking officers, Jackson, who was head of the British Army at the time of the Iraq invasion will be accused, The Guardian says, of allowing himself to be bulldozed by Tony Blair into approving the controversial and disastrous military action.
At the time of Bloody Sunday in Derry, Jackson was a captain in 1 Para and at the Saville Inquiry he was revealed to have been the author of an account of the shootings – a list of firing positions and targets – which had allegedly been invented to justify the killing of thirteen people.
The so-called ‘shot list’ claimed that the Paras had shot at people carrying weapons, nail bombs and pistols, when in fact none were armed.
He initially failed to mention his part in drawing up the diagram when giving testimony at Saville but when recalled to the witness box admitted he had a ‘vague’ memory of the event.
Saville exonerated Jackson however of the charge that he had lied.
While the military career of his superior that day, Para CO, Col Derek Wilford took a sharp nosedive after Bloody Sunday, Jackson’s flourished and he ended up with the highest rank possible in the British army.
But has his luck now run out? We shall see. I once had lunch with Chilcott when he worked in Belfast and on the basis of that experience I shall withhold judgement.