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Challenging Collusion?

Anthony McIntyre • 25 June 2004

This week saw Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams meet with John Stevens, the British Metropolitan Police Commissioner. Stevens is overseeing a British state inquiry into collusion between its agents and members of the various armed organisations located in the North. It is the third such inquiry he has led. That a cop from London rather than Dublin is examining the collusion allegations results from Dublin effectively having little say in British ruled Northern Ireland. It can deal with mundane matters of tourism and passports. But the serious business is addressed by the only sovereign government in the place. All of which augurs poorly for a truthful outcome.

Nevertheless, Mr Adams did not balk from doing what had to be done. In the interests of his constituents alone, he set the question of sovereignty aside - sweetened no doubt by the knowledge that it will be resolved in 2016 - and pressed John Stevens on a number of cases, including that of the 1976 loyalist murder of Sinn Fein vice-president, Maire Drumm and the 1969 RUC killing of a nine year old Belfast boy, Patrick Rooney. At the meeting in a London hotel - light years removed from the circumstances of a previous meeting between Adams and the security apparatuses where, because he posed a threat to the British state, they brutally tortured him - he stressed the need to bring the collusion inquiry to a close ‘particularly for those families at the bottom of the hierarchy of victims.’

This was a laudable act by the Sinn Fein leader. It is consistent with his calls for the British Government to cease dragging its feet in the case of the Pat Finucane murder. And it reinforces a determination on the part of the West Belfast MP to keep faith with the findings of Judge Peter Cory. The very idea that an equality agenda could live cheek by jowl with a concept such as a hierarchy of victims should be anathematic to those with an egalitarian bent. And it is comforting to know that those still searching for an answer from their lowly rung in the victim hierarchy - such as the Notarantonio family - will have the case of their murdered loved ones championed by their local MP.

It must be reassuring to many nationalists that the Sinn Fein president is determined to get to the bottom of the collusion question and has went the extra mile in sitting down with a British cop. His meeting with John Stevens assumes even more importance given that towards the end of last year reports began to appear in a British newspaper that ‘spooks’ - Sinn Fein might prefer the term ‘securocrats’ - were trying to hinder Stevens in his efforts to investigate the activities of a British security force run agent who may have murdered more nationalists than Johnny Adair reputedly has. The paper reported that Stevens had been ‘sensationally banned from arresting Stakeknife Freddie Scappaticci.’ One member of Stevens’ team complained:

It’s an affront to democracy. We’ve basically been told we cannot go near Scappaticci and the team is not a bit pleased about it. There is a great deal of anxiety because Mr Scappaticci is, at the very least, a vital witness in an inquiry that goes right to the heart of collusion between security forces and paramilitaries.

Matters that go to the very heart of collusion are indeed something that should go to the heart of Gerry Adams’ justice seeking soul. It is alleged that Scappaticci ‘killed informers alongside 'innocent' volunteers he chose to brand as informers.’ In nationalist communities those really confined to the bottom rung in the victim hierarchy are the families of those alleged to have been informers. And now that the foremost nationalist leader in the North is calling for an end to the hierarchy, such people can at last expect movement towards closure. Surely, cynics and mouthpieces alone who have 'lost the run of themselves' would argue that Sinn Fein might have any substantive reason or ulterior motive to share the British penchant for foot-dragging. Danny Morrison, afterall, did enlighten us on this score by pointing out that if the British did employ Scappaticci in the manner suggested above:

they have no loyalty to their own members, have lost all moral compass and it is they who have something major to hide and to prevent coming to the surface, not the IRA. It would be in their interests to have 'the evidence' destroyed, not the IRA's.

In the days ahead many families who may have lost loved ones at the hands of Freddie Scappaticci, will sit with bated breath for a triumphant Gerry Adams to tell them and the wider world exactly what he extracted from John Stevens in relation to the activities of Scappaticci. And in doing so the Sinn Fein president will, in one clean stroke, cast aside those who feel he really met Stevens to ask for the Scappaticci story to be suppressed on the basis that it only serves to reinforce the enemies of the peace process.



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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent


All censorships exist to prevent any one from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently the first condition of progress is the removal of censorships.
- George Bernard Shaw

Index: Current Articles

25 June 2004

Other Articles From This Issue:

Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?
Fred A. Wilcox

Irish American Relations
John Kennedy

Challenging Collusion
Anthony McIntyre

Why Can't We?
Patrick Lismore

An Ego Trip for the Middle Class
Mick Hall

Palestinian Misery in Perspective
Paulo de Rooij

22 June 2004

Eyes Right
Anthony McIntyre

"Rumour Mill" - Safeguarding Nationalist Community
Sean Mc Aughey

From Alternative Press to Corporate Mainstream: The Case of the Andersonstown News
Liam O Ruairc

Taming the Celtic Tiger
Fred A. Wilcox

Weapon of Mass Destruction
John Kennedy

The Reagan Bitburg Doctrine
Francis A. Boyle

God's Command to Angels
Allama Iqbal
M. Shahid Alam (trans.)

Plan Puebla Panama And Free Trade - The Corporate Contribution To Low Intensity Warfare
Toni Solo


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