- 06 Jul 18
Extraordinary evidence is emerging about the covert activities of the British police in Northern Ireland during the Troubles. Indeed, the identity of an individual who infiltrated the NICRA must now be ascertained. Because the Bloody Sunday massacre might not have happened without him...
Recent revelations of the secret activities of British police in the North make it “imperative” that the Undercover Police Inquiry (UCPI) sitting in London is extended to Northern Ireland, Kate Nash said last week. And she should know.
Kate’s brother was killed and her father seriously wounded in the Bloody Sunday massacre in Derry in January 1972. She waited 46 years for an official Inquiry to issue a report, and resisted the temptation to call it quits at that point. Some key aspects of the planning and cover-up of the killing had been ignored in the report of Inquiry chairman Lord Saville.
“I was overjoyed that Saville found that my brother and my father had been innocent people out marching for civil rights,” she said. “But I still want to know who was ultimately for the paratroopers bursting onto our streets and shooting to kill.
“I am not a vengeful person, but when the State kills its citizens, it has to be held to account. I want the full truth, including how far up the military and political chain of command responsibility goes.
“That’s one of the reasons I am giving full support to Jason Kirkpatrick in trying to discover why a secret unit from the Metropolitan Police was monitoring him and possibly manipulating the anti-globalisation campaign in which he was a leading activist.”
In the High Court in Belfast in February last year, Jason was given leave to bring judicial review proceedings against a decision that an inquiry into covert policing would only cover events in England and Wales, omitting the North. The Belfast court accepted that Jason had been under surveillance in Belfast, Britain and on the European mainland by “Mark Kennedy,” an operative from the National Public Order Intelligence Unit.
The NPOIU operates from with the Metropolitan Police.
Are You On The List?
The policing Inquiry had been set up in March 2015 by then Home Secretary, Theresa May, after it had emerged that some of its officers had formed relationships and even fathered children with members of political groups which they had infiltrated. The unit, and its predecessor, the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS), had also spied on at least a dozen justice campaigns, including the family-led campaign on the racist murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence in 1993. Other campaigns targeted for infiltration were focused on the deaths, at police hands, of Harry Stanley, Wayne Douglas, Michael Menson, Jean Charles de Menezes, Cherry Groce, Ricky Reel, Rolan Adams and Joy Gardner.
The covert unit were obviously very busy boys. The Inquiry listed political groups which the NPOIU had penetrated: the Animal Liberation Front, Anti-Apartheid, Anti-Fascist Action, Big Flame, Brixton Hunt Saboteurs, Colin Roach Centre, Dambusters Mobilising Committee, Dissent!, Earth First!, Essex Hunt Saboteurs, Friends of Freedom Press Ltd, Globalise Resistance, Platform, Antifa, Operation Omega, Reclaim the Streets, Red Action, Republican Forum, Revolutionary Socialist Students Federation, Socialist Party, Socialist Workers Party, South London Animal Movement, Tri-Continental, Troops Out Movement, Vietnam Solidarity Campaign, West London Hunt Saboteurs, Workers Revolutionary Party, Young Haganah, Young Liberals and Youth against Racism in Europe.
(That’s quite a list. In some circles, groups which had not been infiltrated may have felt embarrassed, even insulted, when the roll-call was laid out. I am pleased to be able to say that I was involved, at one time or other, in half a dozen of these gangs of desperadoes.)
Who Organised The Massacre?
In a related development, the (London) Times reported last month that an undercover SDS agent, “Sean Lynch,” had, between 1968 and 1974, targeted organisations active in the early days of the Troubles, including the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (Nicra). Darragh Macken, a solicitor representing both Jason and a number of the Bloody Sunday families said: “The period falls squarely into the time that Nicra organised the Bloody Sunday march. This is an element of undercover work that has fallen completely under the radar.
”The legacy investigations into the Troubles have been effectively operating with one eye closed. This could have implications for other legacy investigations, including the Saville Inquiry into Bloody Sunday.” Jason commented: “If they hid ‘Sean Lynch’ from the Saville Inquiry, I wonder what they are now hiding from the UCPI.”
Calls for extension of the UCPI to the North have come from Amnesty International, two former NI Ministers for Justice, David Ford and Claire Sugden, the PSNI and many others. Ms. Sugden has written to the Home Office, saying that the Inquiry must follow the evidence, including when the evidence takes it to Northern Ireland.
Two years ago, after details of the British undercover operations in the North had become public, Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton told the Policing Board that the PSNI had been “completely blind” to the fact that members of undercover British units had been operating in the North, much less what they were up to. He described their posting to the North as “madness.”
“All we know is what we didn’t know – that they were here.” Kate Nash sums it up: “We see that even after 12 years of the Bloody Sunday inquiry and expenditure of close on £200 million, potentially crucial evidence was missed, or deliberately hidden. The same seems to be happening again.
“I want to know whether ‘Seán Lynch’ played any part in Bloody Sunday.”