Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
HAVE YOUR DONATION DOUBLED!

If you are able to donate $100 or more for our Annual Fund Drive, your donation will be matched by another generous CounterPuncher! These are tough times. Regardless of the political rhetoric bantered about the airwaves, the recession hasn’t ended for most of us. We know that money is tight for many of you. But we also know that tens of thousands of daily readers of CounterPunch depend on us to slice through the smokescreen and tell it like is. Please, donate if you can!

FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

MI5’s Killing Spree in Northern Ireland

by

Derry, Northern Ireland.

“Cameron went completely off script at that point and he said ‘Look, the last administration couldn’t deliver an inquiry in your husband’s case and neither can we.’” Asked why by Jane Winter of British Irish Rights Watch, Mr.David  Cameron, according to Ms. Winter, replied: “Because there are people all around this place who won’t let it happen.” She recalled him twirling his hand in the air at “people all around this place.” “This place” was 10, Downing Street. The occasion was a meeting in October 2011 between the prime minister and members of the family of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane, murdered by the Loyalist paramilitary outfit the UDA in 1989, with, as a series of media probes has established and the British government no longer denies – the active involvement of a secret British army unit and of the “security service”, MI5.

Winter had accompanied the family to London. They had travelled at the invitation of the Northern Ireland Office, believing/hoping that Cameron was to tell them face-to-face that he had given the go-ahead for the public inquiry into the killing promised by Tony Blair a decade previously. SDLP MP Mark Durkan says that Blair have him “an unambiguous commitment” to a public inquiry during talks at Weston Park in July 2001. The question which immediately arises is: who around Downing Street would have had the clout to forbid a prime minister from following a particular course? Senior civil servants? Hardly. Sir Humphrey doesn’t deliver instructions but rather offers advice. But MI5 fits the bill. It is difficult to think of any other group which does. If this be the truth of it, Cameron was telling Ms. Finucane that an organisation which both were aware had played a key role in the murder of her husband was refusing to contemplate a public inquiry into the crime and that he had no choice but to comply. (John Ware’s 2002 BBC investigation had exposed MI5’s role in facilitating certainly scores and possibly as many as 200 sectarian murders of Catholics.)

MI5’s ability to dictate the terms on which its activities might be examined had been on open display at the Bloody Sunday inquiry in May 2003.  At one point MI5 officer “Julian” – he gave evidence anonymously, by video-link from an unidentified location – referred to a device called an “Alvis.” Barry McDonald QC, for a number of the families, asked: “What is an Alvis?” Inquiry counsel Alan Roxburgh intervened: “Before the witness answers that question…I understand that (MI5’s) position may be that they are content that it should be indicated that Alvis was a means of communication, but not to provide further details… I will be corrected if I am wrong by Mr Sales.” Philip Sales QC, for MI5: “That is correct, sir.” Inquiry chairman Lord Saville: “What Mr Roxburgh says is right?” Sales: “What Mr Roxburgh says is right, yes.” Saville: “I think you will have to leave that there, Mr McDonald. I am sorry.” And there it was left. Sales was to intervene on around a dozen occasions to indicate what questions MI5 would like disallowed.  Each time, the agency’s requirement was met, without discussion.

One MI5 witness told the inquiry that he had been advised in advance by one of Saville’s own lawyers what questions he might reasonably refuse to answer when giving evidence. Although lawyers for the families expressed astonishment, the matter was not pursued.

Astonishment might have been the appropriate response, too, to the bizarre (or so it would seem in any other context) government intervention in 2010 in the case of Binyam Mohammed. He had alleged MI5 involvement in severe ill-treatment which he had suffered while held in a CIA “black site”. In a draft judgment, the third most senior judge in England and Wales, Master of the Rolls Lord Neuberger, was sharply critical of MI5’s actions both in relation to Mohammed’s treatment and then in the course of the court proceedings. Gordon Brown’s government responded by writing privately to Neuberger telling him that the judgment as it stood would be “exceptionally damaging” to MI5 and suggesting that he change it. The notion of judicial independence had been discarded.

We can but guess who it was who advised Brown to butt in on a judge between the end of the court proceeding and delivery of the judgment. In any other circumstances, the concept of contempt of court might have come into play. Since 2005, MI5 has had “primacy” in policing in the North on issues of “national security.” Determination of what issues or incidents touch on national security is exclusively reserved to MI5. In his reports to the policing board, the chief constable of the PSNI is permitted to refer to matters of national security only with specific prior permission from MI5.

An entirely unaccountable organisation which has been shown to have consorted with terrorists and to have indulged in perjury and politically-motivated murder has apparently unchallengeable control of the most sensitive aspect of policing in the North. It is puzzling that this isn’t a matter of constant controversy.

Eamonn McCann is an Irish journalist and political activist. He can be reached at Eamonderry@aol.com

 

More articles by:

Eamonn McCann is an Irish journalist and political activist. He can be reached at Eamonderry@aol.com

Weekend Edition
October 20, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Socialism, Land and Banking: 2017 compared to 1917
Paul Street
The Not-So-Radical “Socialist” From Vermont
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Day in the Life of CounterPunch
Jason Hirthler
Censorship in the Digital Age
Jonathan Cook
Harvey Weinstein and the Politics of Hollywood
Andrew Levine
Diagnosing the Donald
Michelle Renee Matisons
Relocated Puerto Rican Families are Florida’s Latest Class War Targets
Richard Moser
Goldman Sachs vs. Goldman Sachs?
David Rosen
Male Sexual Violence: As American as Cherry Pie
Mike Whitney
John Brennan’s Police State USA
Robert Hunziker
Mr. Toxicity Zaps America
Peter Gelderloos
Catalan Independence and the Crisis of Democracy
Robert Fantina
Fatah, Hamas, Israel and the United States
Edward Curtin
Organized Chaos and Confusion as Political Control
Patrick Cockburn
The Transformation of Iraq: Kurds Have Lost 40% of Their Territory
CJ Hopkins
Tomorrow Belongs to the Corporatocracy
Bill Quigley
The Blueprint for the Most Radical City on the Planet
Brian Cloughley
Chinese Dreams and American Deaths in Africa
John Hultgren
Immigration and the American Political Imagination
Thomas Klikauer
Torturing the Poor, German-Style
Gerry Brown
China’s Elderly Statesmen
Pepe Escobar
Kirkuk Redux Was a Bloodless Offensive, Here’s Why
Jill Richardson
The Mundaneness of Sexual Violence
Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin
The Choreography of Human Dignity: Blade Runner 2049 and World War Z
Missy Comley Beattie
Bitch, Get Out!!
Andre Vltchek
The Greatest Indonesian Painter and “Praying to the Pig”
Ralph Nader
Why is Nobelist Economist Richard Thaler so Jovial?
Ricardo Vaz
Venezuela Regional Elections: Chavismo in Triumph, Opposition in Disarray and Media in Denial
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
NAFTA Talks Falter, Time To Increase Pressure
GD Dess
Why We Shouldn’t Let Hillary Haunt Us … And Why Having a Vision Matters
Ron Jacobs
Stop the Idiocy! Stop the Mattis-ness!
Russell Mokhiber
Talley Sergent Aaron Scheinberg Coca Cola Single Payer and the Failure of Democrats in West Virginia
Michael Barker
The Fiction of Kurt Andersen’s “Fantasyland”
Murray Dobbin
Yes, We Need to Tax the Rich
Dave Lindorff
Two Soviet Spies Who Deserve a Posthumous Nobel Peace Prize
Rafael Bernabe – Manuel Rodríguez Banchs
Open Letter to the People of the United States From Puerto Rico, a Month After Hurricane María
Oliver Tickell
#FreeJackLetts
Victor Grossman
From Jamaica to Knees
Michael Welton
Faith and the World: the Baha’i Vision
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Kirkuk the Consolation Prize?
Graham Peebles
Beyond Neo-Liberal Consumerism
Binoy Kampmark
Australia’s Citizenship Bill Fails
Louis Proyect
On Gowans on Syria
Charles R. Larson
Review: Candida R. Moss and Joel S. Baden’s “Bible Nation: the United States of Hobby Lobby”
October 19, 2017
Farhang Jahanpour
Europe Must Stop Trump From Starting Another War in the Middle East
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail