*This piece is written in the context of security force targeting Republican terrorists, it does not seek to justify the killing of any civilians.
Collusion’ has once again been at the forefront of political debate in recent weeks and months. It is a one sided debate that is weighted heavily against the RUC, UDR and British Army. The spin doctors of Republicanism trot out hashtag after hashtag and cliché after cliché demanding their ‘right to truth’. That sounds reasonable enough, until you look beyond the honeyed words and realise what they really want is to re-write history with their own self-serving version of the truth.
Republicans demand that all participants in the conflict are held accountable- except of course themselves, who do not want to be held accountable for their actions. When the IRA is held accountable they tell us all about the ‘dark cabal with policing’ and speak of the continuing influence of veteran Special Branch officers, who they say are out to ‘destabilise the peace process’. They tell us there must be no light shone into the dark corners of IRA, because we must ‘protect the process’.
Let us not forget the attitude of a former Senior IRA leader, Bobby Storey, following the arrest of Gerry Adams- “how dare they”. You could be forgiven for asking Mr Storey just what he was intimating may happen if the current forces of law and order ‘dared’ to pursue IRA members turned peace process supporters. There was of course no outcry from Sinn Fein following the arrest of Ivor Bell for historical crimes- and why? Because it was and is a politically convenient charge against Ivor Bell, who stepped out of the shadows to support an anti-agreement republican candidate in the election just prior to his arrest.
Let me be very honest, do I find it outrageous that the UDR, RUC and British Army at times passed information to loyalists to assist them in targeting republican terrorists that were shooting members of the security forces in the back of the head, no I do not. If I am brutally honest the part that annoys me the most is that members of the security forces felt they had to pass information to loyalists. If the UDR, RUC and British Army didn’t have their hands tied behind their backs then there would never have been the need for loyalist organisations. The security forces could have destroyed the IRA, but instead they had to observe rules and regulations, they had to fight within a legal framework whilst those who tried to kill them crawled about in the dead of the night and creeped up behind them- when an IRA man creeped up behind an off duty UDR soldier or a policeman, they did not give three warnings, they just brutally shot them in the back of the head. Yet we have the very same IRA men who cry ‘shoot to kill’. If you were an IRA man, using terrorism to destroy the Country, then it is not the height of hypocrisy to complain about your ‘enemy’ using the very same tactics you deployed, against you?
We hear complaints of torture of IRA suspects by the RUC- I don’t believe anyone should be tortured, but I find it hard to have any sympathy for IRA men who complain about torture when they regularly tortured and brutally murdered suspected informers, on many occasions disappearing their bodies.
Sinn Fein regularly extoll the idea of a ‘truth commission’. Let’s look at how much truth the IRA provided to Judge Smithwick- none! They provided their own self serving version of the truth designed to re-write history. And yet they expect the Unionist people and ordinary victims to place their trust in Republicans to look into the past and provide closure?
One of the main issues we have is that many within the political sphere are playing the game, because they feel it is what they must do rather than risk isolation by expressing how they really feel. Do republicans really care about Soldiers, RUC or UDR men they murdered, do they really want the families of those members of the security forces to find out the truth and receive closure? No, of course they don’t. Do republicans care about the innocent victims of their terrorist campaign? No, of course they don’t. The truth is they care about getting to the truth where they think it fits into their carefully crafted narrative of the past. They want a self serving half baked version of the truth that will feed into their attempts to re-write history. They want the British and the security forces to be painted as the terrorists whilst they, the IRA, go down in history as freedom fighters. In fact it is quite the opposite. The IRA were the aggressors, they were the terrorists and the British security apparatus and loyalists, who never needed the security forces to take on the IRA, effectively took on the role of terrorising the terrorists.
The problem with this narrative of collusion is that the IRA operated as a guerrilla terrorist organisation, they have no accountability. The security forces have accountability, hence why republicans are trying to shift the political battle onto this landscape. It suits them and it is weighted in their favour, not because they are in the right, but because it is too politically unpopular in this generation of political correctness to simply tell the truth, and that is that the IRA started a war and in the context of that war the security forces used all means at their disposal to terrorise the terrorists. That’s the truth and how many people really have a problem with that?
The past is riddled with hypocrisy. The IRA who claimed to be fighting the British, had one in four of their members, at least, working as British agents. This is when we really get into the depths of collusion- far more shocking than the running of counter insurgency against those seeking to destroy the state, was the policy of running agents within the IRA who murdered, bombed and maimed those who were loyal to the Crown.
Those who should feel most betrayed by collusion are those who were loyal to the Crown, yet at times elements of the British state allowed their loyal subjects to be murdered as part of a strategy to build a ‘peace process’. That is the real scandal.
Republican terrorists or those who supported them and gave them refuge have no moral right to complain about the British terrorising the terrorists, on the other hand those who were loyal to Crown and were murdered as a result of the British state colluding with, and running agents within the IRA in an attempt to bring the conflict to an end, are those who have the real right to truth and justice!