It’s one thing for SF/IRA apparatchiks to live in deliberate denial and cover-up about IRA Human Rights’ atrocities – they choose to serve an iniquitous Sinn Féin/IRA party policy – but quite another thing for such calculated deception to brazenly work its way into the general population and into the realm of professionals such as doctors, solicitors, barristers, priests, etc. – citizens who are certainly better educated, better rewarded and who should therefore possibly live according to higher standards than the rest of us.
A typical Web introduction to the Relatives for Justice organisation might be the profile offered by the ICTJ website, The International Center for Transitional Justice in New York.
There, written by Sam McCann, RFJ CEO Mark Thompson’s story and motivation for his involvement with Human Rights are described and – we are told – it all began with the murder of Pat Finucane in 1989:
After mentioning also that Thompson’s own brother had been one of three men shot dead by soldiers subsequent to robbing a bookmakers in Belfast and while two were holding replica guns – which Thompson referred to as a “shoot to kill” British army policy – the profile continues:
As an introduction to Human Rights’ violations in the Northern Ireland troubles, I would say that this “narrative” lacks something – in fact, it lacks so much that in my opinion it ranks as DECEPTION.
If I – as someone of a catholic/nationalist background – and a former teenage IRA volunteer and Sinn Féin member – were introducing a foreign audience to Human Rights’ violations in Northern Ireland – even if only by referencing attacks on the legal fraternity – I would have to start by demonstrating the universality and indivisibility of Human Rights and my narrative could absolutely never begin with the Pat Finucane murder in 1989:
- The IRA introduced into Northern Ireland the murders of members of the legal fraternity by shooting dead Resident Magistrate William Staunton, a Catholic, on the 11thof October 1972 as he dropped his daughter to St. Dominic’s convent grammar school on the Falls Road. The IRA shot him in front of his daughter and her school friends in his car and he died of his injuries three months later.
- On the same day, and at the time, the IRA also murdered Resident Magistrate Martin McBirney, a Protestant, at his home in his kitchen in front of his family. Martin McBirney was a prominent member of the Northern Ireland Labour Party, had married a Catholic and, while a barrister, had acted for the defence in civil rights’ cases and had represented Eamon McCann.
[Here was all the template the loyalist paramilitaries needed later for the Pat Finucane murder at home in his kitchen in front of his family, but much more than this was provided by the IRA.]
- On the 16thof January, 1983, Judge William Doyle was murdered by the IRA as he came out of Mass in St. Brigid’s Catholic church on Derryvolgie Avenue in Belfast. Judge Doyle had offered a 72-year-old lady a lift home in his car and, as they both exited the church, two IRA gunmen fired at him. He was hit by six bullets in the chest and stomach. The 72-year-old lady with him was shot in the stomach and seriously injured.
- Sixteen months later, an IRA gunman again used the same Catholic church to attack Judge Tom Travers. One gunman shot his daughter, Mary, in the spine. She fell to the ground taking her mother with her. A second gunman shot him in the shoulder, knocking him to the ground. The gunman then stood over him and fired five more bullets into him – miraculously, he survived. The second gunman then put his gun to Travers’ wife’s head and pulled the trigger twice – the gun misfired both times. Mary Travers, however, died in her mother’s arms. The IRA’s intent was clear – to murder the judge and his entire family as well.
- On the 7thof December, 1983, the IRA shot barrister and law lecturer Edgar Graham in Queen’s University and, as the 29-year-old lay dying outside the campus library, cheering erupted in the students’ union as witnessed by Sylvia Hermon.
- On the 28thof April, 1987, the IRA murdered Appeal Justice Maurice Gibson and his wife Cecily by bombing their car at the border, with claims of collusion between the IRA and senior member of the Irish police, An Garda Siochana.
- Fifteen months later on the 23rdof July, 1988, the IRA attempted to repeat the border bomb tactic, this time intending to murder Catholic Justice Eoin Higgins, but instead murdered AN ENTIRE HILLSBOROUGH FAMILY returning from Disneyland in Florida, Robin and Maureen Hanna and their 6-year-old son, David. Again, there were allegations of collusion between the IRA and elements of An Garda Siochana.
How is it possible to introduce a Human Rights’ perspective concerning attacks on servants of the law in Northern Ireland without mentioning THE TEN MURDERS BY THE IRA before 1989 and by only recounting A SINGLE MURDER BY LOYALISTS in 1989? What absolute hypocrisy is this?
How, then, in the light of all of these IRA murders of members of the legal fraternity in Northern Ireland, and given the universality and indivisibility of Human Rights, does Thompson narrate only that “he knew about Finucane’s death and contacted the murdered activist’s family and longtime legal partner, Peter Madden” – is Thompson kidding?
He didn’t know about all these other murders of legal practitioners – and civilians – and was somehow unmoved by the atrocities in which they were murdered by the IRA?
He then followed this ignorance by completely erasing these TEN VICTIMS from such an important narrative?
It appears abundantly clear to me that Thompson offers a wholly partial and sectarian Human Rights’ story to an international audience, one that never refers to the IRA and to its 1,700 dead victims and to its many many thousands of injured victims and associated Human Rights’ violations.
Looking to the RFJ website, I note that it recounts that on March 22nd, 2012, Mark Thompson got an opportunity to make a submission to The Helsinki Commission US Congressional Hearing – here at last, I thought, he will have rendered a full and balanced narrative on Human Rights’ violations in Northern Ireland, starting with the single greatest violator of Human Rights in the troubles, the IRA.
Unaccountably, Thompson only submitted evidence on three incidents: Loughlinisland, Sean Graham’s Bookmakers and Clonoe.
Most extraordinarily, neither the IRA nor any of its many thousands of Human Rights’ violations are mentioned anywhere in the submission – how is this even possible?
No reference to The Claudy bombings of civilians by the IRA, Mark?
No reference to The Bloody Friday bombings of civilians by the IRA, Mark?
No reference to the La Mon napalm bombing of civilians by the IRA, Mark?
No reference to The Birmingham Pub bombings of civilians by the IRA, Mark?
No reference to The Warrington bombings of children and civilians by the IRA, Mark?
No reference to The Enniskillen Remembrance Day bombing of civilians by the IRA, Mark?
No reference to the Kingsmill slaughter of Protestant civilians by the IRA, Mark?
No reference to the IRA’s practice of sectarian murders of innocent Protestants across Northern Ireland, Mark?
No reference to the IRA’s institutional practice of torture on abducted civilians before their extra-judicial murders and disappearances of their corpses, Mark?
No reference to the IRA’s practice of deliberate murders of civilians, Mark?
No reference to the IRA’s enlistment of children into the IRA, Mark?
No reference to the IRA’s refusal to return the corpse of a fallen soldier, Captain Robert Nairac, Mark, making it the only terrorist organisation in Europe to withhold from burial a corpse of a captured, tortured and then murdered soldier?
No reference to the 120 women, girls and female infants murdered by the IRA, Mark, in the course of its ‘armed struggle’?
And – in such a prestigious setting as the US Congress, and duty-bound to offer precision of language – you refer three times to a location only specified as “the north” – without any further qualification? You’re in America and you make reference in a legal submission to a location only as “the north”?
Is this more of the calculated Sinn Féin slight to the people of Northern Ireland that pro-Sinn Féin republicans cannot now ever use the official name of the province, ‘Northern Ireland’?
It would stretch to breaking point the bounds of credulity to imagine that Thompson FORGOT about all of these most infamous IRA Human Rights’ atrocities – and therefore one can only assume that Thompson and his organisation are deliberately excusing from their shoddy Human Rights’ “narrative” the single greatest Human Rights’ violator in the Northern Ireland troubles – namely the IRA.
And looking at RFJ’s various reports, in its 27 years of operation it has not managed to produce a SINGLE report on ANY of the IRA’s atrocities/Human Rights’ violations.
With regard to the “Time for Truth” march scheduled for February 25th, even The Irish News newspaper recorded as early as January 30th that:
“The majority of victims that have come together in the new group were bereaved through loyalist paramilitary or state violence.”
No surprise there!
The ‘Relatives for Justice’ organisation is narrating a deceptive Human Rights’ story of Northern Ireland [‘the north’] that entirely erases the IRA from the record.
Sinn Féin – the biggest apologists for and deniers of the IRA’s Human Rights’ violations and now a hybrid party containing all of the IRA’s victim-making leadership and membership and current IRA Army Council members – was all over the so-called ‘Time for Truth’ march.
Sinn Féin MLA Emma Rogan announced plans for the march.
Sinn Féin victims’ spokersperson [that would be, “non-IRA victims’ spokesperson”, obviously] Linda Dillon expressed in the Sinn Féin/IRA newspaper, An Phoblacht, that the march was largely aimed at getting legacy funding released.
An Phoblacht couldn’t have been clearer:
“Relatives of people killed by the British state and their allies in unionist death squads are calling on people across the country to join with them on Sunday 25 February for the Time for Truth march and support their campaigns for truth and justice.”
So, the ‘Time for Truth’ march was a lie in the sense that it was certainly not ‘Time for Truth’ from the IRA about its many thousands of Human Rights violations, but merely time for truth for “relatives of people killed by the British state and their allies in unionist death squads”.
How much more EXCLUSIVE could you get within the Human Rights field?
How much further away from support for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights could you travel toward a pitifully partial and sectarian view of Human Rights by RFJ and its pro-Sinn Féin allies?
Even the aforementioned New York ICTJ on its website later admitted that:
“Organisers of the march had urged victims from across the community to attend, however, many of those represented were mainly from the nationalist community and their loved ones killed by security forces or loyalist terrorists.”
It would be unthinkable in any other country that unapologetic, unrepentant victim-makers – persons who participated in massive Human Rights’ violations – could ever join most comfortably and unchallenged in a Human Rights’ protest.
However, at the so-called ‘Time for Truth’ march, unashamed and boastful convicted IRA members such as Gerry ‘The Bolt’ Kelly and Caroline Cullen/Caral ni Chuilin were able to walk proudly alongside Sinn Féin apologists for IRA Human Rights’ violations such as Michelle O’Neill, John Finucane, Alex Maskey, Deirdre Hargey and many others.
What kind of pro-Human Rights, pro-victims’ protest makes victim-makers and anti-Human Rights convicts feel comfortable and unchallenged?
At the absolute least, it would have to be noted that this particular march was a TOTAL CORRUPTION of the universality and indivisibility of Human Rights and a pro-IRA demonstration in full knowledge of the IRA’s victim-making history.
One victim, Colin Worton, whose 24 year old brother Kenneth was murdered by the IRA at Kingsmill, commented in The Belfast Telegraph that he ‘wouldn’t have felt comfortable’ attending the march because it was ‘hi-jacked by Sinn Féin and the republican agenda’:
“Anybody that has been a terrorist and a victim-maker, to say they are representing victims is odd, it’s strange. How can they say they are representing victims when they have made victims?”
Well, Colin, it doesn’t take even a low pass grade in a legal degree to work that out, which brings us on to one of the more bizarrely hypocritical aspects of this wholly sectarian march – namely, the letter penned by 50 so-called “human rights lawyers” and published in The Irish News newspaper.
In December of 2017, a letter appeared in The Irish News signed by 200 ‘influential figures’ and ‘northern nationalists’ calling upon Republic of Ireland Fine Gael Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, ‘not to abandon the north’.
In February of 2018, another letter appeared in The Irish News this time signed by only 100 members of nationalist ‘civic society’ – the numbers were dropping – calling on Varadkar to support a bill of rights in Northern Ireland – on this occasion, Sinn Féin was ‘outed’ as chainmailing around Ireland to garner support for the letter.
So by the time the 50 ‘human rights lawyers’ [yawn, the term is so abused it is failing to carry any meaning anymore] had signed a letter supporting the so-called ‘Time for Truth’ march, numbers, interest and the efficacy of such letters had all dropped off.
I have to admit that I was shocked that 50 legal professionals would publicly support a march whose organisers can so easily and clearly be shown to ignore the IRA’s thousands of Human Rights’ abuses and violations – and effectively to exonerate the IRA by refusal ever to document and investigate its Human Rights atrocities or to seek the prosecution of its Army Council leaders.
I have to admit surprise that the said legal professionals would publicly highlight their support for a sectarian march – one that could easily be shown to have full Sinn Féin and IRA support.
Well of course because trumpeting support for a march that exonerated the IRA’s victim-makers and associated Sinn Féin apologists for IRA Human Rights’ atrocities calls into question the integrity, honesty and neutrality of such lawyers and they seem entirely unconcerned about even the possibility of being regarded as supporters of past IRA violence and victim-makers.
Having descended from Mount Olympus and parked their Bentley, BMW and Mercedes motor vehicles in safe city centre parking, these scions of Druidic Ireland would have rubbed shoulders with the rude plebeians of Sinn Féin and the IRA as they clutched their nosegays ever closer to their nostrils.
In this descent into crude party politics, these letter signatories open themselves to the same slings and arrows that affect those of us who live in lowly places – but, when they are subsequently subjected to fairly ordinary scrutiny on Twitter – what is the reaction?
Why – having sought to know for a short time how ordinary folk live and breathe and debate and get trolled on social media – one or more of them pen(s) a legal letter of complaint, this time a legal letter or letters to Twitter complaining that s/he/they have been subject to unfair scrutiny with regard to Human Rights and support for the IRA.
Winters, Madden, Finucane and all these other self-proclaimed ‘human rights lawyers’ SELF-PUBLISHED their names in public, in a newspaper, in online editions of that newspaper and effectively in hundreds of social media outlets that then referenced their published letter.
One or more of them – so puffed up with bristling pride that s/he/they find it unacceptable and unconscionable that a mere citizen should ever have the temerity to reference them on Twitter and question their integrity on grounds that are so blatantly obvious that a mere victim, untutored in the law – or a mere citizen such as myself – only a little tutored in law – should question their integrity, which they have themselves opened for scrutiny by supporting a partial march solely for the rights of – to quote once more An Phoblacht – “relatives of people killed by the British state and their allies in unionist death squads”.
In my opinion, all 50 of you have brought discredit upon yourselves and any resulting scrutiny of your behaviour you have also brought upon yourselves by publishing your names in a newspaper without once referencing the single greatest Human Rights’ violator in all of Northern Ireland’s troubles – the IRA.
You do not even recognise the irony that your threatening letter(s) to Twitter contradict the very freedom of expression you yourselves exercised in supporting the pro-Sinn Féin, pro-IRA march.
[If you are a trainee solicitor, solicitor, trainee barrister, barrister or a lawyer or ‘human rights lawyer’ or new Sinn Féin activist and are affected by the revelation that the IRA has committed many thousands of Human Rights’ violations and that these have been covered up by RFJ and Sinn Féin, don’t hesitate to contact The Samaritans and to read one or more of the following: