18 December 2003 Edition
Tony Blair, It's Time To Cut And Run
BY LAURA FRIEL
So the British Government will not be honouring its promise to publish before the end of the year four reports delivered by Canadian Judge Cory into allegations of state collusion. Dublin will be forced to go ahead and publish its two Cory reports alone, leaving the British to squirm and wriggle out of its commitment.
British sources are citing "security" considerations as the stumbling block to publication but media commentators have suggested that Tony Blair is embarrassed by the judge's findings and the British government is currently seeking ways to censor the document.
At the time of delivery, Judge Cory made it publicly very clear that he would not look kindly upon any government that attempted to tamper with the documents. He is reported to be increasingly angry at the failure of the British Government to release his findings and recommendations.
It has been suggested that the British may first release Cory's findings to those named in the document in connection with the killings, opening up the possibility of a flood of individual injunction applications effectively curtailing full disclose of the findings.
As part of the Westland negotiations, Judge Cory had been tasked by both governments to investigate allegations of collusion in relation to the killing of defence lawyers Pat Finucane and Rosemary Nelson, Portadown Catholic Robert Hamill and LVF inmate Billy Wright.
The judge was also asked to probe allegations of Garda collusion in the killing of two senior RUC offices and the death of Judge Gibson. The latter two reports were delivered to the Irish Government and are expected to be published in line with the original commitment.
Suppression of the Cory reports comes as further evidence of Britain's reluctance to cooperate with investigations into state collusion emerged, with the publication of the Barron report into the Dublin and Monaghan bombings.
Barron had been given minimal powers and resources by the Dublin Government but despite the limited nature of his probe, Barron has once again put a spotlight on the British government's determination to thwart disclosure.
Despite an initial undertaking by the British Prime Minister to cooperate, the NIO repeatedly ignored Barron's requests for information. It took the NIO over a year to reply to Barron's requests.
In a written reply, the NIO admitted there were 68,000 documents potentially relevant documents at the NIO and millions at the British MoD. Yet despite this, Barron only received a 16-page letter. Requests for copies of original documents were simply ignored by the British.
Yet despite British attempts to block the probe, Barron has unearthed an amazing chain of collusion featuring a specific grouping and the ballistic history of seven guns. The collusion network exposed by Barron includes unionist paramilitaries, RUC officers and British soldiers involved in the murder of dozens of people, mostly Catholic civilians in the 1970s.
Killings associated with this network include three murders at Donnelly's bar Silverbridge, the killing of two Catholics at a fake URD checkpoint, the killing of IRA Volunteer John Francis Green, the Miami Showband killings, the murder of Dorothy Trainor in Portadown, the murders of three members of the Reavey family and the attack on the Rock Bar in Tassagh.
"It is ironic that Tony Blair should be waging his war against terrorism with regard to al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein and yet his government refused to cooperate with an inquiry set up to deal with such a serious act of terrorism,"
said Margaret Urwin, spokesperson for Justice for the Forgotten, representing relatives of the victims of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings. She was commenting on the refusal of the British government to fully cooperate with the inquiry.
Hypocritical, outrageous, shameful, cowardly, all seem more appropriate ways of describing the British Government's current refusal to face up to the growing body of evidence exposing the fact that the British state and its forces have colluded with unionist paramilitaries in the murder of hundreds of Irish people. These included both citizens within its own jurisdiction and citizens of the neighbouring Irish state in the 1970s, '80s, and '90s, up to the present date.
And the British Government is running scared. The evidence emerging into the public domain is mounting up and the momentum is gaining pace. A finger in the dyke can no longer hold back the flood of revelations threatening to smash the whole edifice of collusion.
If I were you, Tony Blair, I would cut and run. Make your apologies and leave Ireland as quickly as the helicopters can carry you and your administrators out of the country. The alternative is to risk the exposure of Britain as a terrorist state.