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Andy McNab hits out at 'crazy' cases against Troubles soldiers

Former SAS soldier turned best-selling writer Andy McNab has angrily condemned the renewed wave of investigations into killings carried out by the Army in Northern Ireland during the Troubles.

But the highly-decorated soldier, whose real name is still a closely-guarded secret, has insisted he would have no fears of standing trial for killing people in the province, the first when he was a teenage squaddie.

"I feel totally justified in what I did. So I don't mind being in front of a jury, because nine out of ten times, people are quite sensible," said the English author, but insisted it was wrong for him and other veterans to be coming under scrutiny.

McNab rose to fame in the 1990s with his controversial memoir Bravo Two Zero, which is still hailed as the top-selling military book of all time.

It recounted how McNab led a mission behind enemy lines in the first Gulf War and he has followed up his debut book with more than 30 fictional works, hitting the No 1 spot on the Amazon charts no fewer than eight times.

At the weekend, McNab publicly expressed his support for the Army veterans and their supporters who've taken part in a series of protests in Belfast, London and Glasgow against what they say is a "witch-hunt" of soldiers over killings and other incidents at the height of the conflict here.

The campaign has been organised by the Justice for Northern Ireland Veterans (JFNIV) group, who have criticised prosecutions and investigations into alleged abuses by British soldiers throughout the Troubles.

Among them is 76-year-old Dennis Hutchings from Cornwall, who is to stand trial over the killing of John Patrick Cunningham, who had learning difficulties in 1974. The 27 year-old was shot as he ran away from an Army patrol in Benburb.

In his interview with an English magazine, McNab agreed with the JFNIV view that there was an imbalance in the way the authorities were treating former soldiers compared to the Provisional IRA.

He said: "All of a sudden, everything that took place on the government side is now being reassessed.

"We've got no protection. You want a military force when the s*** hits the fans, but then when everything is okay you basically f*** us over.

"It's absolutely crazy."

In an interview with the Belfast Telegraph in 2013, McNab urged the authorities not to bring to court the Parachute Regiment soldiers who were involved in the Bloody Sunday killings in the Bogside in 1972, long before he joined the Army.

"We are not talking about soldiers who'd been going round bayoneting people," he said. "These were men who were in a state of confusion in a fluid situation and they'd been given the right to open fire if they thought they were in danger. You can't question that decades afterwards."

McNab first came to Northern Ireland on a number of regular battalion tours with the Green Jackets in the Seventies and he was awarded a military medal after a firefight in which IRA man Peadar McElvanna was killed near Keady in 1979.

Five years later after he joined the SAS, McNab was involved in the mission which led to the deaths of two IRA men and an undercover colleague near Kesh in Fermanagh in December 1984.

McNab has always vowed he will never reveal his true identity because he claims he is still receiving death threats, including some from republicans in Northern Ireland, although he still visits the province, mainly for regimental functions

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