...I'm okay with being REALITY-based.

Thursday, April 17, 2003
      ( 1:06 PM )
State-Sponsored Terrorism -
But It's Not Who You Think

Well, it's official today. The Stevens Inquiry Report was released in the UK and its conclusion is that the British Army and the RUC (The militarized police force in northern Ireland) colluded with loyalist paramilitaries in in the north of Ireland to kill civilians, mainly Catholics. Specifically, the murder of Soliciter Pat Finucane, a well known Catholic civil rights attorney, in 1989 and a Protestant student, Adam Lambert in 1987 were the subject of the inquiry. It has long been known by the general public that the British MOD colluded in the murder of Finucane (gunmen broke into the family home and shot him dead in front of his family, hitting his wife as well). There have been three separate investigations by Stevens and this one finally established proof for the collusion. This is the first ever official report released that proves collusion, despite the fact that independent and human rights ngo investigations have shown it to be true for decades.

There has never been any doubt in the minds of the Nationalist/Republican minority in the north that the British government was not only sanctioning the actions of the RUC and the protestant/loyalist paramilitaries, but that many of the actions taken against that minority community were directed by the British government. To argue that the northern six counties of Ireland are not an occupied territory rings empty after so many years. Even with this current war in Iraq, the British MOD was bragging that because it used the north of Ireland as a training ground, its troops were especially adept at "urban warfare." If you are unaware of the conditions caused by the British occupation of the north of Ireland, I urge you to take a look at just a few of the websites by minority neighborhoods in their efforts to gain not only equality and rights, but freedom from the constant fear of reprisal from the police forces and paramilitaries. Here, here, and here.

I find it particularly telling that, as I mentioned last week, the leader of the British forces in Iraq was part of the command structure in Derry on Bloody Sunday. The fact that a separate, currently ongoing inquiry into Bloody Sunday is also uncovering the fact that the British troops were not shot at first before they opened fire on the public, and were in fact not in any particular danger from the peace march that was going on that day, makes me not a little concerned for the Iraqi civilians in Basra. It was after that day in January 1971 that the massive volunteering for the Irish Republican Army began.

I don't think that the US or British forces will have learned much from the Troubles in the north of Ireland - and as they occupy Iraq, I wonder if the same mistakes will be made. I can already see them starting: using the old police force to police the communities, colluding with non-legitimate militias to "keep the peace," flaunting the American flag as they patrol the devastated communities they have taken over. I hope they are aware that while the Iraqi people may be grateful for freedom from the Saddam Hussein regime, they are not necessarily willing to be oppressed by a new regime so quickly.

I have a lot more to say on this subject, having lived and worked in the north of Ireland and having adored personally and worked professionally for Rosemary Nelson, another Catholic solicitor murdered because of collusion between the RUC, British MOD and the loyalists. It is not something easily contained in a few words of a blog post. I find that while people can be so quick to label someone "terrorist," they never truly take the time to explore what might have caused that someone to get to the place where they could be called that. It is never black and white.

Our government would like to make us believe that it is, that it's "us or them," that it's "good v. evil." But it's not. It never will be. Unless and until humanity is allowed to equally participate in its own destiny, there will always be "Troubles." And while our own government seems to feel it's okay to continue to keep that equality from ever happening, we don't have to go along with it. We shouldn't. Our loyalties (as the loyalties of Pat Finucane and Rosemary Nelson were) should be with humanity, not its destroyers.

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