Sometimes I do wonder if the dozens of Irish and British journalists who spent most of their careers loftily dismissing the evidence of Britain’s criminal counter-insurgency war in Ireland as “republican propaganda” have any regrets now that the veracity of those allegations has been proven to be correct? Or do those newspaper columnists, press editors and TV producers who were wilfully blinded by their own ideological myopia in years past, fellow-travellers of the British Occupation and those who defended it, still maintain that they were in the right?
Do the journalistic champions of censorship really believe that all those deaths and injuries stemming from a needlessly extended conflict were worth the lies, falsehoods and cover-ups? And for what? Sinn Féin to be the largest nationalist party in the north-east of the country, and for Martin McGuinness – a former (P)IRA Chief-of-Staff – to be Deputy Joint First Minister in the regional administration at Stormont? For SF to be one of the most popular parties nationally and Gerry Adams to be one of the most popular TDanna?
From the Guardian newspaper, a report on what the UK press describes in its distorting lexicon of “Dirty War” language as the “shoot-to-kill” policy of the 1980s and ‘90s. In other words the assassination and summary execution of Irish (and nominally UK) citizens by the British forces on this island nation:
“Details of an alleged criminal conspiracy by MI5 to obstruct one of the most sensitive murder inquiries of the 30 years of conflict in Northern Ireland have been exposed following the emergence of key sections of a previously secret police report on the affair.
The report details how officers of the security service were said to have concealed the existence of an audio recording of an incident in which RUC officers shot dead an unarmed teenage boy, Michael Tighe, and then destroyed the tape to prevent it falling into the hands of the detective who was investigating the killing.
Compiled at the height of a tumultuous 1980s political scandal known as the Stalker affair, the report recommended that two officers – thought to be the highest-ranking MI5 officers in the province – be prosecuted for perverting the course of justice.
Its author, Colin Sampson, then chief constable of West Yorkshire, condemned MI5’s concealment of a key piece of evidence during a murder inquiry as “wholly reprehensible”, and said the officers responsible were guilty of “nothing less than a grave abuse of their unique position”. He added in his report that the excuse they had given for failing to surrender the recording was “patently dishonest”.
He also recommended that three senior police officers be prosecuted for conspiring to pervert the course of justice.
In the event, none were prosecuted after the then attorney general, Sir Patrick Mayhew, said the government did not believe it to be in the interests of national security to bring them to trial.
The police ombudsman of Northern Ireland is currently investigating the actions of a group of former Special Branch officers, while detectives from Police Scotland are investigating the conduct of a number of former MI5 officers.”
In a related and more in-depth article the Guardian almost but not quite admits the real nature of the UK policy:
“…many nationalists in Northern Ireland were enraged by the killings, and senior members of the Roman Catholic clergy were demanding an independent inquiry. Sinn Fein accused the police of carrying out summary executions. The suspicion grew that the RUC was running some sort of a death squad. Few people were prepared to use such a term, however: instead, someone coined the ambiguous phrase “shoot-to-kill”.”