Thursday, November 05, 2015

Adams points finger at MI5


Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has accused British intelligence chiefs of putting peace in Northern Ireland at risk in a bid to stop the growth of his party.

In a wide-ranging speech in Dáil Éireann on Tuesday, November 3, Mr Adams also claimed that opposing TDs prioritised MI5 analysis that the IRA’s ruling army council still exists over assessments by the Gardaí on the same issue

Mr Adams claimed the British Government was trying to roll back on commitments to deal with legacy issues of the conflict in Northern Ireland 1969-98.

“The very people – in MI5 and in the old guard of the RUC – who produced the recent report, have also brought in a veto to stop the families of victims of British terrorism from getting the truth about what happened to their loved ones,” Mr Adams said.

“These are the same people who directed agents and informers and paramilitary organisations that killed hundreds of citizens, including citizens in this city with the Dublin-Monaghan bombs and stirred sectarian violence and colluded in murder.

“They are prepared to put the peace and political processes at risk in an effort to stop the growth of Sinn Féin north and south. These are the people some in this Dáil choose to believe; probably for the same reason.

“The Good Friday Agreement marks the most significant political development on this island since Partition. An international agreement, it involved the two Governments and Nationalist, republican and Unionist political parties in the North. It has provided a peaceful and democratic way to deal with contentious constitutional and political issues. It has opened up a new and peaceful path to the realisation of Irish unity and ending the union where none presented before. However, the political process has been held back by continuous phases of instability since 2010. This stems from the negativity, disengagement and mismanagement of both the peace and political processes by the present British Government. Tragically, this approach has been mirrored by the Irish Government's semi-detached approach to the North. Both Governments have failed to honour their commitments to ensure full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement and other agreements since 1998. A commitment made at Weston Park to investigate the murder of human rights lawyer Pat Finucane has not been honoured or implemented. In the St. Andrews Agreement, a commitment was made to Acht na Gaeilge(Irish Language Act). This has not been honoured or implemented. There is no bill of rights or all-island charter of rights. There is no civic forum.

In the period from 2010, the two Governments have stepped back from their responsibilities and political unionism has refused to properly support power sharing in the North. That has contributed directly to the serious political difficulties and ongoing instability, particularly around dealing with the past, disputed parades, flags, symbols and cultural identity. Despite intense lobbying and advocacy by Sinn Féin, there has been a failure to implement the equality, parity of esteem and mutual respect elements of the Good Friday Agreement. This impasse led to the convening of talks by Richard Haass and Meghan O'Sullivan in late 2013. British Government and Unionist rejection of the Haass-O'Sullivan proposals and further political instability led to further political negotiations in November and December 2014 at Stormont House. However, this difficult political situation has been exacerbated by the austerity crisis caused over recent years by the British Government's reduction of the North's block grant by £1.5 billion. 

This has had devastating consequences for public services, jobs, social welfare protections and economic growth in the Six Counties. With the election of a majority Tory Government in May, worse is set to come. Another £1.4 billion will be cut from the block grant. An estimated £120 million per year will be taken from the pockets of working families as a result of Conservative cuts to tax credits. British Government austerity policies have deepened political instability in the North. Against this backdrop, political unionism has contrived to create a real crisis following the murders in Belfast of Jock Davison and Kevin McGuigan. This crisis was facilitated when a criminal investigation into Kevin McGuigan's murder morphed into an assessment of the status of the IRA by the PSNI leadership. While the PSNI chief constable may argue that this was not a political intervention, it is the responsibility of the PSNI to investigate criminality and to make those responsible accountable in the courts. It should do this by following the evidence and it is assured of the support of Sinn Féin in so doing. However, Sinn Féin will strongly resist any efforts to bring what should be operational matters for the PSNI into the political processes. We reject totally and will resist any efforts to undermine the rights of our electorate or any other section of voters.

This was the background for a cynical electoral power play between the two main Unionist parties which brought these talks to an effective standstill pending the publication of a report by the British Government. Some elements of the British report, and a parallel report from An Garda Síochána, were seized upon by opponents of Sinn Féin, including the Taoiseach, the Tánaiste and the Fianna Fáil leader, and misused for narrow, party political agendas. There has been a deliberate effort to criminalise and demonise republicans, Sinn Féin activists and other citizens, especially those in cross-Border communities in places like south Armagh and north Louth. Contrary to the Wild West image portrayed by some elements in the media and others in this Chamber, the people of the Border region are decent law-abiding citizens.

Let me also hold up to ridicule the absurd notion that there is a twilight zone in which the Garda colludes with republicans involved in fuel smuggling and so on as part of the peace process. This is patent rubbish. Let me repeat once again that Sinn Féin is totally and absolutely opposed to criminality of all kinds and we stand with communities across this island and with An Garda Síochána and the PSNI in opposing criminal gangs and criminality in all its forms. As a consequence of this, Sinn Féin members and our homes and families have been attacked. Despite this, Sinn Féin will be to the forefront of any future initiative to tackle paramilitaries or criminality on this island. No other party has done more to build the peace, reach out to others and robustly face down violent loyalism and so-called republican dissidents.

I have also made it clear that Sinn Féin members are only accountable to our electorate. Sinn Féin has no fear of the electorate. We respect them. They are the people, after all, who gave us our mandate. Despite the political opportunism and cynicism which was evident in the efforts of the Taoiseach to get the Assembly adjourned and the entirely ham-fisted call by the Fianna Fáil leader for the suspension of the political institutions - this cynicism is again evident the Dáil today - talks have recommenced in Belfast. This is very much to be welcomed. I spend at least two days a week if I can in the North and I spend most Mondays in Stormont. There is a widespread conviction that some elements within political unionism have pulled back from the political process and are not seriously committed to power sharing. I always make the case that this is understandable because if they have other options, they will take the other options. If governments keep to their obligations and responsibilities and implement agreements that have been made, then this old guard has less room to manoeuvre. The British Government position lacks credibility and there is no genuine intent to resolve the impasse.

The very people in MI5 and in the old guard of the RUC, who produced the recent report, have also brought in a veto to stop the families of victims of British terrorism from getting the truth about what happened to their loved ones. These folks are locked into the conflicts of the past. They are the same people who directed agents, informers and paramilitary organisations that killed hundreds of citizens, including citizens in this city, with the Dublin and Monaghan bombings, and stirred sectarian violence and colluded in murder. They are prepared to put the peace and political processes at risk in an effort to stop the growth of Sinn Féin, North and South. These are the people some in this Dáil choose to believe. The Fianna Fáil leader does not believe the Garda Commissioner but he believes MI5. MI5, some in the PSNI and the British Government have also attempted to use the new legacy legislation to elevate British interests above those of victims and their families”.

The Real "Army Councils"

 The Garda assessment is quite clear in its presentation of fact:

“While undoubtedly persons who had been linked with the Provisional Army Council continue to associate, there is no evidence of a Provisional Army Council, in the generally accepted sense, meeting or functioning in this jurisdiction. There is evidence that a type of "residual leadership", committed to peaceful means, continues to exist and has become involved from time to time in dealing with "legacy" issues. Engagement with the Smithwick Tribunal of Inquiry and the Independent Commission of the Location of Victims Remains (ICL VR) over extended periods are particular examples in this regard”.

That this statement of fact is rejected shows the willingness of the political elite here to adopt the positions provided by the agents of British Imperialism in their continued attempts to prevent the growth of Sinn Féin in the Republic as they fear the appearance of a radical government here after the general election next March. Despite the arrangements agreed with the Irish Government in the 1998 Agreement, there is no intention of the British State to relinquish its hold on Northern Ireland and this has been established throughout the years of the so-called “Troubles”. 

The presence of the British Military was not to defend the population of Northern Ireland of either sectarian stripe but to maintain the interests of Imperialism in its strategic location in the North Atlantic as part of the NATO alliance. This has renewed significance now beyond what it was during the “Cold War” with Scotland now moving towards independence and the expulsion of the British Nuclear submarines from their bases there. Last week, the Scottish Labour Party, roundly defeated by the SNP in the General Election, voted over 70% against the renewal of the British Trident Nuclear Submarine fleet which Cameron's London government proposes spending £100BN on in the next years. This is a severe blow to the NATO warmongers and a boost for new Labour national leader, Jeremy Corbyn. Nevertheless, the Pentagon is determined to hold on to its access to air bases and harbours in Northern Ireland with increased Russian activity in the Artic and North Atlantic.

In 2008, a researcher in Liverpool University revealed a letter from the US Chief of Staff to the British Chief of Staff in 1970 urging the British to ensure that the conflict in Northern Ireland retained its sectarian Catholic/Protestant basis and that the “Commies” weren’t allowed to “take over” “we don’t want another Cuba here”, meaning the Official IRA, deemed at the time to be pro-Soviet and under Communist influence. Time has shown how effective the British, especially MI5, have been in carrying out this injunction.

There are, in fact, two “Army Councils” which directly influence the destiny of Ireland on a daily basis; one sits in the Pentagon in Washington and the other in the Ministry of Defence in London. In foreign policy, the current and previous Irish Governments defer to the Pentagon by allowing blanket flights and landings by US military aircraft via Shannon Airport without any inspection or question of whether these activities comply with international law, the Hague and Geneva Conventions and Ireland’s official neutrality status (see Shannonwatch link on sidebar). Minister for Defence, Simon Coveney recently signed a military cooperation agreement with the other “Army Council” in London. Ireland also continues to participate in NATO’s “Partnership for Peace” military exercises which are merely a cover for NATO’s attempts to dilute the influence of the European neutrals and a component of the Brussels Dictatorship’s EU Militarisation programmes.

So, it is just arrant nonsense and deception on the part of Government, Fine Gael and Labour, and Fianna Fáil opposition to be making a fuss over phantom “army councils” as an excuse to attack Sinn Féin while they themselves are up to their eyeballs in subservient grovelling to the US, NATO and the Brussels Dictatorship.


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