28 February 2008 Edition
The Mary Nelis Column
Unionism’s SAS role models
JEFFREY DONALDSON wants to hold a commemorative service in Stormont to “celebrate the lives of role models”: the role models in this case being the SAS, the assassination squad of the British Army that operates outside the law.
Jeffrey is a member of the DUP, the law and order party of unionism now running scared in front of the devolution of justice and policing powers.
Their activities have involved murders, kidnappings, bank robberies and all the dirty tricks in the illicit undercover wars that are a tradition of British colonial history.
The SAS has been in operation in Ireland since 1969, long before the IRA actively engaged the British Army on the streets. Indeed, evidence has since emerged of the involvement of the SAS with other British intelligence units in many incidents in the South, aimed at eliminating republicans as well as influencing Irish Government policies.
But it was the North that bore the brunt of their death squad activities. In his book The SAS in Ireland, Monsignor Raymond Murray lists 45 murders carried out by the SAS and argues that such actions are contrary to the moral law, the law of the land and the rules of war and that the British state in itself has perverted justice.
The result is the elaborate rigging of inquests, the most infamous being the inquest into the assassination in Gibraltar of Mairéad Farrell, Daniel McCann and Seán Savage. Prior to the inquest, the British Ministry of Defence circulated a series of deliberate untruths surrounding the circumstances of the murders to international agencies and engaged in a character assassination of one of the witnesses by a smear campaign in the British tabloids. A tissue of lies was paraded at inquests in defence of the SAS – they intended to make arrests; the other party fired first; there was a threat to life; the victim made a gesture – all well-rehearsed over the years.
In his maiden speech in the House of Commons, Labour MP Ken Livingstone claimed that SAS Captain Robert Nairac had been involved in a whole raft of murders, including the 1975 murders of the Miami Showband. He based his remarks on allegations made by former British Military Intelligence officers Colin Wallace and Fred Holroyd, who claimed that the SAS and the British security services were involved in a number of dirty tricks operations for many years.
But the full extent of their murderous activities would come later with the success of Sinn Féin in the elections of 1982. The escalation of death squad activity and the murder of many Sinn Féin elected representatives in the following years is an indication of the alarm within the British and unionist establishment that Sinn Féin was moving towards political power in Ireland. That this so-called elite murder squad didn’t succeed in their efforts to prevent the political progress of Sinn Féin must be a source of great distress to Jeffrey and his death squad supporters.
These are Jeffrey’s role models. But, then again, Jeffrey was in the Ulster Defence Regiment.