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Ireland’s British Troubles

Joint footpatrol of British UDA terrorists and British Army soldiers
Joint footpatrol of British UDA terrorists and British Army soldiers, British Occupied North of Ireland, 1970s

Interesting revelation from court documents released in Belfast (via the Detail), where Ciarán Martin, the former Security and Intelligence adviser to British prime minister David Cameron, admits that British terrorist groupings operating in Ireland during the conflict in the north-east of the country did so with the backing and support of Britain, perhaps up to the highest levels of government. Writing in a redacted letter to PM Cameron, dated July 8th 2011, Martin admits in relation to the 1989 assassination in Belfast of the Irish human rights lawyer Pat Finucane that:

“Even by Northern Ireland standards the facts are grisly. Moreover, in terms of allegations of British state ‘collusion’ with Loyalist paramilitaries, this is the big one… whilst we know of no evidence of direction or advance knowledge of the murder by ministers, security chiefs or officials, exhaustive previous examinations have laid bare some uncomfortable truths.

Paid state agents were directly involved in the killing, including the only man ever convicted of involvement in it.

[official investigations paint]…a picture of a system of agent-running by the RUC’s Special Branch and the Army’s Force Research Unit that was out of control… There is plenty of material in the public domain to this effect. …the evidence available only internally could be read to suggest that within government at a high level this systematic problem with Loyalist agents was known, but nothing was done about it.

It’s also potentially the case that credible suspicions of agent involvement in Mr Finucane’s murder were made known at senior levels after it and that nothing was done; the agents remained in place. These two points essentially aren’t public.”

In a follow up letter, dated July 9th 2011, the special advisor and Cameron confidant states that the prime minister:

“… like virtually everyone else outside MoD [Ministry of Defence] shares the view that this was an awful case and as bad as it gets, and was far worse than any post 9/11 allegation.”

The issue of Pat Finucane’s murder by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), a British terrorist organisation in Ireland long known to have been controlled by Britain’s Intelligence services, drew an official apology from the London government earlier this year, and was recently discussed again by the United States Congress and its Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Of special significance in all this is the UDA’s former status as the largest and most active British terrorist group on the island of Ireland while simultaneously being a legal paramilitary organisation under British law and jurisdiction. Despite its involvement in hundreds of gun and bomb attacks (and the demands of the International community that it be banned) the terror faction was able to openly organise, recruit and train in the north-east of Ireland and in Britain; frequently with the assistance of serving or former British paramilitary police officers or soldiers. Its notoriously public headquarters in the middle of Belfast city was a regular venue for interviews with gunmen and bombers by members of the International media, and its overall existence was based on a continuous supply of money, arms and intelligence data from the British military and security services.

Without the UDA, and the other British terror factions, Britain’s counter-insurgency war in Ireland would have been impossible. And that is why no one seriously doubts that support for these groups came from the highest levels of the British government and across all party political divides and ideologies.

More here from the Pat Finucane Inquiry Campaign.

2 comments on “Ireland’s British Troubles

  1. The Hound of the Udaukervilles

    Chapter 3(Abridged) – The Problem
    “Even by Northern Ireland standards the facts are grisly” I confess at these words a shudder passed through me. There was a thrill in the voice of the former Security and Intelligence adviser to the British prime minister which showed that he was himself deeply moved by that which he told us. Holmes leaned forward in his excitement and his eyes had the hard, dry glitter which shot from them when he was keenly interested.
    “You saw this?”
    “As clearly as I see you.”
    “And you said nothing?”
    “What was the use?”
    “How was it that no one else saw it?”
    “The were at some remove from the paid state agents who were directly involved in the killing and no one gave them a thought. I don’t suppose I should have done so had I not known this.”
    “There are many UDA dogs in the province?”
    “No doubt, but there was no sheep-dog.”
    “You say it was a large organisation?”
    “Enormous. ”
    “But ministers, security chiefs or officials had not approved the murder?”
    “Apparently not. This systematic problem with UDA agents was known, but nothing was done about it..”
    “Is there any other lead?”
    “Has the Prime Minister reached this conclusion?”
    “No; he stopped about fifty yards from it.”
    “You interest me exceedingly. Another point. Was the Inquiry closed?”
    “Closed and padlocked.”
    “Good heaven! Did no one examine?”
    “It was all very confused. The Prime Minister had evidently thought about it for five or ten minutes.”
    Sherlock Holmes struck his hand against his knee with an impatient gesture.
    “If I had only been there!” he cried. “It is evidently a case of extraordinary interest, and one which presented immense opportunities. That page upon which I might have read so much has been long ere this smudged and defaced by the clogs of peasants. Oh, Mr Martin, Mr Martin, to think that you should not have called me in! You have indeed much to answer for.”
    “I could not call you in, Mr. Holmes, without disclosing these facts to the world, and I have already given my reasons for not wishing to do so. Besides, besides –”
    “Why do you hesitate?”
    “This was an awful case and as bad as it gets, and was far worse than any post 9/11 allegation. Since the Finucane murder, Mr. Holmes, there have come to my ears several incidents which are hard to reconcile with the settled order of Nature.”
    “For example?”
    “I find that before the terrible event occurred several people had seen something which corresponds with this Udauk demon. They all agreed that it was a huge creature, the largest and most active British terrorist group on the island of Ireland. It was a legal paramilitary organisation under British law and jurisdiction. I have cross-examined men, one of them a hard-headed countryman, one a worker, and one a farmer, who all tell the same story of this dreadful apparition, exactly corresponding to the UDA of legend. I assure you that there is a reign of terror in the district, and that it is a hardy man who will cross the city at night.”
    “And you, a trained man of government, believe it to be collusion?”
    “I do not know what to believe.”
    Holmes shrugged his shoulders.


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