WHAT IS the link between Katherine Gunn, The Stormont assembly, David shayler, Kofi Annan, Bobby Toohil and David Kelly?All are victims of the British security machine.
Over the past few months, much has been made of the role of intelligence in the actions of the British government: How widespread is 'intelligence gathering' ; Who are the victims of it? And does the intelligence system guide the government with advice, or does the government twist intelligence to its own ends?
The Iraqi weapons dossier is now widely seen as proof that the latter is the case. The government seems to set the answers before anyone’ s even sure what the question is. Therefore, when a threat was needed, one was provided, in the shape if the now laughable ‘ 45–minute’ claim about Saddam Hussein’ s weapons capability.
For those with an interest in Irish politics, this is hardly new; governments have long used 'security forces' as aggressors rather than protectors.
Which leads us to the findings of Judge Peter Cory in his investigation into collusion between the British government and loyalist (and, it should be added for the sake of fairness, minor republican) paramilitary groups, a truncated version of which was finally released yesterday, 1 April. Despite various bald references to 'security issues', we still have not been told the reason for the delay.
When a government holds back information on its own action like this, the silence can only be seen as damning. It is now widely believed that the British security forces were involved, somehow, in the murders of Rosemary Nelson, Pat Finucane, Robert Hamill, Billy Wright, and God knows how many others. If the Cory report went anyway to dispelling this suspicion, then surely the government would be only too happy to release its findings: as it is, we may justifiably assume that the findings are probably much worse than we thought, and certainly not any better.
But how many times can the government repeat this trick? With the Hutton report, it soon became blatantly obvious that a conservative government apparatchik had been brought in to deliver the entire result. The subsequent whitewash may have redeemed the government in the eyes of the law, but it certainly did nothing for its reputation in the eyes of the electorate, in whom, it must be remembered, all power supposedly lies in a constitutional democracy.
The British government and the higher ranks of the Labour Party is yet again forgetting this crucial point: They do not have a God–given right to govern. They are answerable only to the people. Perhaps devout Christian Tony Blair has forgot this.
The public will not.
Connolly Publications Ltd, 244 Gray's Inn Road, London, WC1X 8JR
Copyright © 2004 Connolly Publications Ltd