The New Worker
The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 9th January 2004
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BRITISH TERROR IN IRELAND
by Theo Russell
WE ARE fed a daily diet of Saddam
Hussein’s use of gas against civilians and political assassinations but how
many in Britain are aware that the Government is breaking pledges and actively
suppressing the truth over Britain’s involvement in terrorism and political
assassinations on both sides of the Irish border?
Both the British Irish governments are belatedly confronting the darker side
of their roles in the Irish conflict, but both are continuing actively to
suppress the truth. Two crucial judicial inquiries, by the Canadian Judge
Peter Cory and Irish judge Henry Barron – both aimed at pre-empting calls
for full public inquiries – have just concluded.
Revealing the truth about collusion between British personnel and loyalist
paramilitaries is a vital part of the Good Friday Agreement and the peace
process. At the Weston Park talks in July 2001, London and Dublin committed
themselves to inquiries into controversial killings in the north of Ireland,
and allegations of Gardai (Irish police) collusion with the IRA in the Irish
At the time Sinn Féin had argued for a full public independent
judicial inquiry, as demanded by the families involved.
But Cory’s recommendation of four public inquiries was a shock the
British, and while the Irish government published its report on 18 December,
Britain broke its pledge and refused to publish its side of the report, on
the murderers of lawyers Pat Finucane and Rosemary Nelson, and the deaths
of Robert Hamill and Billy Wright.
Judge Cory was reported to be deeply unhappy and warned: “Failure to
publish the report would be a breach of the Weston Park agreement by both
governments, and could have unfortunate consequences for the peace process.”
London justified its decision on security and legal grounds, even though
the report deliberately avoided compromising the judicial process or national
security in Britain or Ireland.
According to Jane Winter of British Irish Rights Watch, “The British
never expected in their worst nightmares that Judge Cory would recommend
four public inquiries, and they are running around like headless chickens
trying to do a damage limitation exercise.”
The British U-turn came less than a week after Irish Judge Henry Barron
revealed that Britain had refused to co-operate with his inquiry in the 1974
Dublin-Monaghan bombings, in which 33 Irish citizens died – the worst incident
in 30 years of Irish conflict.
The consequences of revealing that senior Irish politicians and officials
were involved in mass murders of Irish citizens with British assistance,
in an attempt to discredit republicans, are likely to be devastating. But
while the Barron Report reaches some interesting conclusions, it gets little
closer to the truth.
Files containing details of long-standing Gardai operations to infiltrate
the IRA, as well as undercover operations and contacts with the RUC Special
Branch and British Army intelligence, appear to have been withheld from Barron.
But the report does show that the then Fine Gael-Labour government made no
effort to assist the investigation, and allowed the main suspects to be released.
Sinn Féin TD Martin Ferris, who is calling for a full public inquiry,
points out that Barron “was not able to see the security files on the Dublin
bombings, and there are no files on the UVF and UDA (the loyalist groups
involved) for 1974 and 1975, while there are for all other years.
“The report refers to British military personnel seen in Dublin at
the time of the December 1972 bombs, and immediately prior to the May 1974
“Another British officer was found in possession of weapons in Dublin
on the very day of the bombings.
“It seems that everyone else who was party to the conflict of the past
30 years is expected to continuously apologise and explain themselves. Well,
the very least that those who were responsible for ignoring the murder of
dozens of people, and indeed the subversion of the very institutions they
claimed to cherish above all else, ought to be made do the same.”
Writing in Republican News, Sinn Féin’s Mitchell McLaughlin
throws some light on the political forces behind the bombings. “At the time,
both the Irish Government and the southern media were consumed by their efforts
to defeat the IRA as a force of resistance to British rule in Ireland, and
prevent Sinn Féin from becoming a political alternative to the SDLP
in the North and a political threat to the establishment parties in the South.
“It is now clear that the Dublin authorities hoped that the outcry
in the aftermath of the death and destruction in the heart of the capital
would create such a backlash against the Republican movement that it would
herald the end of resistance in the North.”
McLaughlin points out that it was only the tenacity of the relatives
of the Dublin-Monaghan victims, inspired by the Bloody Sunday families, which
led to the Barron Report.
But he says the Irish government placed limitations on the inquiry “designed
to ensure that he could not bring in a report that contained comprehensive
While the tragic Omagh bombing was presented by the media as the worst
incident of the Troubles, and a BBC documentary named those allegedly responsible,
a 1993 Channel Four programme about the Dublin and Monaghan bombings alleging
British involvement was met with a campaign of witch hunt and prosecution.
Speaking on the Cory and Barron inquiries, Sinn Féin president
Gerry Adams says: “There is a clear connection between these two issues,
that is British collusion. We have to ask why the British will not publish
Cory or co-operate with Barron. Could it be that the people involved in the
administration of collusion are still within the British system? Mr Blair
will have to tackle this issue.”
With thanks to Irish Republican Media. AP/RN
WHILE MOST PEOPLE see Christmas as a break
from the drudgery of work, religious leaders recalled the words of Jesus
in calls for peace during their sermons.
Meanwhile Tony Blair and his henchmen sent out a different message to that
of the “prince of peace” in their festive calls. Blair, who likes to flaunt
his “Christianity” in public, used the season of goodwill to thank the troops
in Iraq for all their efforts in the fight against “terror” and “repression”
while Foreign Secretary Jack Straw will no doubt have added to their good
cheer by telling the BBC that British troops were likely to remain in Iraq
for years to come.
Pushed to give a date for their withdrawal Straw admitted: “I can’t say whether
it’s going to be 2006 or 2007”. Of course he doesn’t know when, because that
decision will be made by the Americans. Or so the imperialists hope.
The Iraqi people have other ideas. The resistance marked Christmas Day by
rocketing targets across Baghdad including Governor Bremer’s HQ and the luxury
hotels used by westerners. Like the weapons of mass destruction that have
never been found, imperialist hopes that the resistance would wither away
following the capture of Saddam Hussein are vanishing like a mirage in the
Imperialists believe that weapons decide wars and that their vast arsenals
of death and their legions of highly-trained troops make them invincible.
But if that was so, Hitler and Hirohito would have won the Second World
War and the vast European colonial empires would still exist today. In fact
it’s people that decide the outcome of wars as shown in Korea, Vietnam, Algeria
and throughout Africa and Asia.
Imperialist politicians also believe that they can fool the people
of the time by repeating the same old lies over and over again. The great
19th-century American leader Abraham Lincoln warned against this but Blair,
an admirer of the American political system, seems to have forgotten Lincoln’s
words. Perhaps Lord Hutton’s report out shortly will remind him.
In the meantime the anti-war movement must press forward with new mass campaigns
to demand the immediate withdrawal of all British troops from Iraq and defeat
the war lobby led by Blair & Co.
It can be done. The Blair leadership is on the defensive. Some of Blair’s
people are saying he will retire after the next election in a move to try
and head off the growing opposition to his leadership within the Parliamentary
In London the Blairites have suffered an immense defeat at the hands of Ken
Livingstone, who has now been restored to full party membership after a three-year
battle. It’s a victory for London’s Labour Party workers and the Londoners
who voted him into the Mayor’s office in the first place.
Livingstone is an outspoken opponent of the war in Iraq and his return to
mainstream Labour politics can only strengthen the mass movement for peace.
In Asia and the Caribbean, socialism is being built and throughout the world
communists are in the vanguard in the struggle for independence, peace and
socialism. The entire wealth of the world is created by workers in factories
and peasants in the fields. We have a world to win. Let’s advance in confidence
and hope for the future.
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