An Phoblacht 2 - 2022 small

1 June 2006 Edition

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Haddock murder bid - who had most to gain?

No organisation or individual has admitted to the attempted assassination of leading UVF figure and British agent Mark Haddock in Belfast on Tuesday but many suspect that those who have most to hide from the emergence of further details of the nature and extent of British state collusion with unionist paramilitaries were behind the attack.

Haddock is on trial for the attempted murder of doorman Trevor Gowdy, in north Belfast in December 2002. He was named in court as a senior UVF figure and was also questioned about the 1997 murder of Raymond McCord jnr, who was beaten to death by the UVF.

Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan is due to publish a report into McCord's killing within months. It is widely known that Haddock is to feature prominently in that report, particularly in relation to how he was handled by Special Branch.

Ulster Unionist Party leader Sir Reg Empey recently alligned himself with the political leadership of the UVF in Peter Hain's assembly. Empey has defended his decision since the Haddock shooting. But many see it as gross hypocrisy for Ulster Unionists, having collapsed the political institutions of the Good Friday Agreement by refusing to share power with Sinn Féin, to embrace the political leadership of the UVF, of which Mark Haddock and possibly the men who pulled the trigger on him are members.

As hypocritical as Empey's cuddling up to the UVF to secure an extra Executive position was the apoplectic reaction of Ian Paisley's DUP. Empey's decision was only the overt expression of what many knew to be the covert position of mainstream unionist parties for deacades.

The links between Unionist politicians, paramilitary death squads and British intelligence is inextricable. This puts into context the ludicrous, attempted smear of leading republican Martin McGuinness by elements of the DUP in the past week. The preposterous allegation about Sinn Féin's Chief Negotiator originated with the DUP and was disseminated by its representatives. Willie McCrea even interrupted his party colleague Peter Robinson in the House of Commons to propagate the slur.

As McGuinness said, the allegation is "a load of hooey". Furthermore the fact that it comes from those who have been mired in the machinations of British spooks and securocrats for most of their political existence, makes it all the more laughable. This latest DUP stunt was just the latest rejectionist attempt to divert political attention and sabotage current efforts to restore the political insitutions of the Good Friday Agreement. Sinn Féin will not be distracted or diverted and neither should anyone else.

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