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Date Posted: Sun, Feb 11 2007, 17:51:49 PST
Author: Anthony McIntyre-The Blanket
Subject: State Terrorism Par Excellence
In reply to: Tommy McKearney-Irish Democrat 's message, "Policing Problems" on Sun, Feb 11 2007, 17:30:09 PST

State Terrorism Par Excellence

Anthony McIntyre 27 January 2007

The incubus that stalked Northern Ireland's nationalists has been glimpsed as a result of Nuala O'Loan's report on collusion between RUC Special Branch and loyalist death squads. Only glimpsed because, like the Loch Ness monster, its fullness evades us. Confined to the relatively miniscule Mount Vernon estate in North Belfast, it tells us nothing about the certain replication of murder throughout the North as a whole. Speaking with Sinn Fein MLA Francie Molloy a few evenings ago, a shudder rippled through me as he detailed the sectarian onslaught experienced by nationalists in Mid Ulster's murder triangle area. Nationalists have never been in any doubt that Robin Jackson and cohorts perpetrated the Murder Triangle assassination campaign in full consort with senior officials in the state security services.

Even if the argument is accepted that informants within the UVF were essential to the preservation of nationalist life there is an immediate quandary. It would have to be established that nationalist lives were saved. We know that similar arguments put forward in a court of law by Brigadier Gordon Kerr on behalf of UFF murderer and agent of the British state Brian Nelson were without foundation. Brian Nelson helped save two lives, those of Freddie Scappaticci and Gerry Adams, Scappaticci because he was a tout and Adams because the British knew he intended winding up the IRA campaign. But in the case of the Mount Vernon UVF it seems that those doing the killings were the informants. What was the purpose of employing informants to stop killings if the bulk, if not all, of killings were being carried out by informants?

This raises the 'appalling vista' of the UVF's raison d'etre solely being its usefulness to the British state as it sought to sickeningly squeeze the nationalist community to a point where it would vomit out the IRA. This reframes the issue of collusion. Did RUC Special Branch collude with members of a loyalist murder gang because its smashing was considered unattainable and the only choice was the realpolitk one of between bad and worse? Or did the UVF, regardless of its origins in 1966, owe much of its subsequent existence to the perceived need of special branch for a weapon in its war against the IRA? If it is the second question that prompts accurate answers then we move beyond the issue of collusion. Special Branch did not merely collude with UVF death squads, it created them.

For years individuals like Mark Thompson of Relatives For Justice have drawn our attention to the malign role of the British state in the Northern conflict. But even he might be stunned by just how deeply the state murder business permeated Northern society.

Unionists on the other hand at best pretended all was rosy in the orange garden. The mitigation proffered by unionist stalwarts such as Ken Magennis that Northern Ireland was in the grip of a war and terrible things happen during a war cuts no cloth. This disingenuous defence actually accentuates the crimes committed by the British state. Ten republican volunteers died trying to prove what the defenders of RUC Special Branch then denied but who are now shouting it from the roof tops - that what took place in the North of Ireland was not a sectarian conflict but a war in which the British state was one of the chief protagonists.

RUC Special Branch functioned as a terrorist gang. It was the cutting edge of British state terrorism. Nuala O'Loan has performed outstandingly in bringing the matter to public attention. But a combination of complacency and thwarting should not be allowed to paralyse the search for justice. There can be no question of future investigation being lured down some meandering British judicial lane where it can be safely strangled. The entire process should now be taken out of the realm of the British state altogether and placed before an International Criminal Tribunal for Northern Ireland sitting at The Hague. Like Jean Kambanda, Slobodan Milosevic, Jorge Videla, the British leader who headed the state terror campaign should not be allowed to escape justice. The loophole afforded to her friend Augusta Pinochet should be foreclosed. As she haughtily told the world many years ago, crime is crime is crime.

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