4 February 1999 Edition
Paisley setting-up people for assassination
Up to two dozen men named in the House of Commons by Ian Paisley are now in living in fear of their lives.
Ian Paisley, on Wednesday 27 January, used parliamentary privilege to read out a list of names which he claimed were IRA members and were involved in attacks which go as far back as 23 years ago. Paisley has claimed that the information came from an RUC dossier.
Paisley said, ``there is obviously something seriously wrong with any country - and any government - that permits known killers to walk the streets with impunity, while their victims lie in cold graves''. This statement has created a genuine fear as to what the DUP man's true intentions are, with many of those named along with those who share the same names, now fearing for their lives.
Ian Paisley named father of seven Eugene Reavey as being involved in an attack in which ten Protestants were killed in 1976. However, Mr Reavey was making arrangements for the funeral of his two brothers and visiting the other in hospital, the three of whom were shot by loyalists the previous day.
Stressing his innocence he pointed out that he has never even been questioned by the RUC and has accused Paisley of putting his life in danger.
Many others who were named have protested their innocence in equally strong terms.
Gerry Adams has said that an RUC dossier leaked to the DUP leader amounted to ``collusion'' and added that the named people had been ``set-up'' as potential targets for loyalist death squads.
Bairbre de Brun, Sinn Fein spokeperson on policing, added, ``Once again we have evidence of the extent to which elements within the RUC are prepared to use their position to collude in the provision of information to loyalist and other elements.
``It is a fact that thousands of files on nationalists have been given over the years to loyalist death squads, from within the ranks of the RUC. Hundreds have died as a result''.
This is not the first time that MPs have used the House of Commons in order to set people up for assassination. In one of the first instances Reverend William McCrea, also of the DUP, named Sinn Fein councillor John Davey from County Derry as a member of the IRA. Davey was shot dead by loyalists in February 1989.
Civil rights lawyer Pat Finucane, who had represented many charged with Republican offences, was shot dead by loyalists shortly after claims were made in the House that some solicitors were sympathetic to Republicans. Ardoyne man Eddie Copeland was named as a Republican and was later the victim of a loyalist assassination attempt.
This latest move by Paisley comes soon after the revelation that the weapons which were being used by the Orange Volunteers and the Red Hand Defenders have come from the same shipment which was bought by MI5 in South Africa and supplied to various loyalist groups including the Ulster Resistance Movement of which Paisley was a founder member.
The DUP leader has indicated that he may carry out similar actions in the future with him naming more of what he regards as IRA members. Such actions will undoubtedly place many innocent peoples lives in danger especially since the revelation that members of the new Assembly will have the same privileges as MPs in the House of Commons and will be able to name people without facing libel claims.
Meanwhile claims by the RUC that the files passed on to Paisley were not RUC files have been dismissed as an attempt by the RUC to cover up their collusion. Bairbre de Brun added, `this collusion, and its cover-up by the RUC, are two reasons why the RUC is unacceptable to the nationalist community, and why there must be a new policing service'.
By Eoghan MacCormaic
Republicans were rightly angry at the stunt by Paisley in Westminster last week when he read from a list of names, illegally obtained, of people he alleged were suspects in various incidents over the past twenty five years and it certainly requires comment.
Quite clearly there are implications for those on the list, and Paisley himself knows well that reciting names in such a fashion is an invitation - if one were needed - to Orange/loyalist/unionist organisations to murder.
Paisley has never been more than an asses roar from organisations which prowl the streets at night looking to wreak terror on innocent nationalists, and with the `sanction' of a list from Paisley who knows when they will begin the task he has set them.
While many will feel that Paisley's actions are at fault, there is another view which sees the system which allows such actions as the problem. The whole issue of privilege, and of parliamentary privilege in particular, is one which is constantly open to abuse and when placed in the hands of the Andrew Hunters and Ian Paisleys of this world, abusive people, people who in the past have shown scant regard for the lives of nationalists, it is no wonder that the `privilege' is taken up, and a list - tantamount to a death list - concocted.
But what if the shoe were on the other foot? What panic would ensue if Paisley, Trimble, Robinson and a string of others were to learn that a certain two MPs were on their way to Westminster for a spot of name dropping? Or if elements of the business world in the north, who with the connivance of various Unionist politicians financed the UDA/UFF, and the UVF in their sectarian campaigns, were to hear their names blurted out under the guise of `parliamentary privilege', what outcry would be raised then against the irresponsibility of the Westminster perk?
While it is a tempting scenario, it is one which is unlikely to ever happen not least because no republican would advocate going to Westminster, even to `out' the string-pullers among the Unionist MPs. Another reason of course is that Republicans are all too well aware of the reckless nature of the privilege of Westminster and how it can lead to loyalist death squads targeting those named.
Paisley's stunt last week is not the first time such abuse of `parliamentary privilege' has occurred.
The murder of Human Rights lawyer, Pat Finucane by Loyalists controlled by British Intelligence can be attributed directly to the statement by Junior Minister Douglas Hogg a short time beforehand.
Libelous and serious allegations have also been made against a number of Republicans over the years, some named directly, other identified in ways which could lead loyalists to their doors. Paisley's antics last week were, no doubt, designed to have the same effect and the fact that the leaked document came from the RUC should come as no surprise. Collusion between the RUC/British security forces, Unionist politicians and loyalist death squads has been and remains widespread. Where unionists think that due process is too slow, or too soft, they use a tool which leads to the death penalty for the `suspects'.
Parliamentary privilege is a refined and more lethal version of the Diplock Courts. Where Diplock operates without the hindrance of a Jury, parliamentary privilege dispenses with the need for either judge or jury. Instead it provides a channel between the prosecution and the executioner... often one and the same. The namer of names is all powerful, and all protected. The person named powerless to defend their name. It is a classic form of British `justice'. Paisley, and Hunter and other advocates of the policy call it `name and shame'. In this game of name and shame the shame in fact lies on those who take refuge under the cowardly apron of privilege.
Name them and shame them
By Sean Marlow
I wonder who advised Tory MP Andrew Hunter to back off from naming those supposedly involved in killings and punishment beatings.
Could it have been some of those with most to lose if known organisers of violence were named and shamed? Like the Tory and Unionist governments of 1972 who planned the Bloody Sunday massacre and who - despite the Saville inquiry - are still trying to cover their tracks?
Or the RUC thugs who, under the guidance of then Home Affairs minister, John Taylor (the same one!), beat Samuel Devenney, Francis McCluskey and John Corry to death, then shot nine year old Patrick Rooney dead at a time when the IRA's weapons were, unfortunately, decommissioned?
Or maybe there was a Tory somewhere with enough cop-on to realise that any information coming from Vincent (Walter Mitty) McKenna would be so inaccurate (remember Walter's Lower Ormeau ``survey'') that it would backfire - as happened with former FAIT luminaries in whose footsteps McKenna is now treading - like sticky kneecapper Henry Robinson, sticky fingers Nancy Gracey and web surfer Glynn Roberts.
Not surprisingly, Ian Paisley was too oafish to realise this and dived in to list 20 names that he had been given by his RUC informants. In the light of such blatant setting up of individuals for assassination by the Orange Volunteers/ Red Hand Defenders/LVF (who have begun decommissioning!) in the same way that solicitors were fingered by Douglas Hogg just before human rights lawyer Pat Finucane was killed by loyalists controlled by British Intelligence. Is it any wonder that human rights campaigners want this sectarian force disbanded?
The fact that such dodgy information can so easily find its way from security files to wreckers like Paisley and loyalist death squads shows why no-one should pass any information to the RUC and why costly collaboration between Gardai and RUC should end and the funds so misused be directed into paying our nurses a decent wage.
Loyalist killer Michael Stone and UFF/British Army agent Brian Nelson both admitted that such information, gathered on both sides of the border, was used to target dozens of innocent Catholics throughout the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.
One intriguing aspect of Paisley's names is the fact that several of them had close relatives killed by British Forces or loyalist death squads (or more likely both, given the close collaboration between these ``counter-insurgency'' forces in County Armagh as claimed by ex-SAS Captain Fred Holroyd and admitted in a recent book on SAS Captain Robert Nairac). Was this a crude attempt by the RUC to ``justify'' these killings and the failure to bring any prosecutions?
Another organisation which shot itself in the foot during the naming controversy was the good old loyal BBC. The lame excuse it gave for broadcasting on their main evening news programme a list to make it easy for every loyalist headbanger to target families with those names, was that it was only broadcasting what was put on the record in Westminister. Funny then how they managed to omit, say, Ken Livingstone's statements about the activities of Colin Wallace and his MI5 bosses or MPs' calls for banning plastic bullets.
Will the BBC broadcast the names of the Dublin/ Monaghan bombers if they were to be revealed in Westminister? Or even in Stormont where the same privilege rules apply.
Now there's an idea! Why doesn't some bold Assembly member get up in Stormont and repeat the very plausible allegations made this week by ex-RUC member John Weir about the involvement of senior RUC officers, along with UVF killer, Robin (Jackal) Jackson, in the ``Good Samaritan'' killing of North Antrim shopkeeper, William Strathearn? Or even read into the record a chapter or two or three of ``The Committee'' by Sean McPhelimy, who uncovered masses of evidence about the participation of top RUC special branch officers and VERY high-ranking Unionist politicians and businessmen in the wholesale slaughter of totally uninvolved Catholic (and some Protestant) civilians.
I can't wait to see such an epidemic of naming and shaming on the BBC!