An Phoblacht 2 - 2022 small

10 May 2001 Edition

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The truth is seeping through

The decision of the High Court in Belfast on Tuesday to deny UTV the right to broadcast a programme exposing undercover British operations betrays the fear with which the British government views any scrutiny of its covert war in Ireland.

The UTV Insight programme features a former British soldier and MI5 agent who claims to have engaged in operations, during his infiltration of the IRA, in which fellow British soldiers and RUC personnel were killed.

While banning the proposed UTV broadcast, the court also denied a request from counsel on behalf of Geraldine Finucane, the widow of assasssinated lawyer Pat Finucane, for access to documents from the Insight production team. The documents could prove vital in finding British forces guilty of colluding in her husband's killing.

The reasons for the Belfast High Court's decision to censor the UTV programme and hide its findings from the Pat Finucane Campaign are quite obvious in the context of recent events and revelations.

Last week, another Insight programme exposed the RUC Special Branch as the most fascist, corrupt and uncontrollable faction of the RUC. Even regular RUC personnel admitted on the programme to having been afraid of their Special Branch colleagues, with one former RUC Chief Superintendent claiming that he feared the Special Branch more than the IRA.

Another court ruling this week, that of the European Court of Human Rights, has again found the crown forces guilty of blatant abuses of human rights. The court found in favour of 12 families of deceased victims of British Army shoot-to-kill tactics, including the families of 10 murdered IRA Volunteers. The families had contested that their murdered relatives' right to life had been violated and this was upheld by the court.

In this context, and in the context of the current Saville Inquiry into Bloody Sunday and increasing pressure for inquiries into collusion in the deaths of Rosemary Nelson, Robert Hamill and Pat Finucane, it is understandable that the British government is desperate to cover up the truth. They must understand, however, that genuine reconciliation can only be achieved through honesty and accountability.

The British establishment tried to have it both ways. They tried to deny that they were engaged in a war while engaging in a ruthless campaign of shoot-to-kill and collusion with loyalists to eliminate those they perceived to be their enemies, both military and civilian. At the time, a censored and mainly complicit media failed to force any sort of accountability, but the families of those killed have never given up.

They may be forced to do so most reluctantly, but the British establishment will eventually be forced to acknowledge their dirty war, engaged in while British politicians blithely insisted on the need to maintain the rule of law. The families of those killed and the communities from which they come will not rest until the full truth is told.


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