the last few weeks assisting with the IRSP's effort
to expose the use - by an unreconstructed RUC - of
child informers to spy on their own people. I was
struck with the lack of interest expressed by the
media, Policing Board and world in general. Here we
were, a legitimate political party with what by any
standards was a major story. It had all the elements
- sleaze, child abuse, paramilitaries and crooked
story as we seen it was this: during August of this
year an RUC/PSNI patrol picked up a drunk, confused
and very frightened 13 year old boy with learning
difficulties. They arrested him on suspicion of "going
equipped to steal a car" and took him to the
nearest RUC/PSNI barracks. Once there he was interviewed,
illegally without his parents or Social Services being
informed. He was threatened that he would be charged
with offences if he did not spy on his own community.
A community that at that point in time was under daily
attack from armed loyalist thugs. The deal was simple
- agree to work for the RUC/PSNI, observing and reporting
back to his handlers on the movements and activities
of those volunteers of the Irish National Liberation
Army suspected of involvement in the by now 24 hour
a day defence of North Belfast, go to prison, or worse.
He was a frightened, drunk, wee boy with a mental
age of 8. He was in the company of authority figures
who abused him and played on his disabilities to induce
terror and break him to their will. And they did -
he cracked like a dropped plate.
were the circumstances that led to the boy being released
without his parents or any statutory body being informed
that he had even been in custody, never mind interviewed.
He'd been given the number of an Orange mobile phone
to call and a name (Johnny) to ask for when he had
information. And, so it was that for the best part
of 3 months this disabled child was exploited and
exposed to the risk of harm by those allegedly there
to protect him. He was on an odyssey that involved
secret meetings on far away roads, being driven around
Nationalist North Belfast in an RUC/PSNI Landrover,
pointing out suspected INLA personnel and eventually
giving away the location of a weapon being used by
those involved in the defence of his own area. This
in turn led to his unmasking by the INLA. It was then
that the INLA displayed a degree of empathy for this
child that was sadly lacking in the forces of the
crown. Instead of the execution the RUC/PSNI would
have expected for one of their unmasked agents, the
INLA treated the boy humanely, contacted the Church.
And the IRSP then referred the family an internationally
respected human rights lawyer.
I said at the start, what a story! Or so you would
think. The Irish News was given the exclusive
- they talked to the INLA, the IRSP, and the priest
the boy and the family. They then buried the story
on the inside pages. The Guardian did better,
two paragraphs on page 14. The Andytown News
said that the INLA were going to start shooting children
as informers. Amid the crying of the collective babies,
covered in dirty water, sitting on their collective
sore bare asses having just been thrown out with the
bath water, two papers got it right. Only the Derry
News and North Belfast News caught the
drift of what the INLA had uncovered and what the
IRSP is trying to expose.
isn't just about one scared wee disabled kid from
North Belfast. This is a tactic. If it's in use in
North Belfast, is it in use in the West of the city?
The East and South, Derry, Armagh, Strabane, Dungannon?
Are loyalist children being blackmailed in this way?
Take two steps back and look at the big picture. As
part of the so-called UK, the RUC/PSNI are trained
by MI5 and the FBI. Is this tactic in common use by
other agencies of the British government? Are police
forces in England, Scotland and Wales using the children
of Muslims in Birmingham, Swansea and Glasgow to spy
on their communities? What of the Miners in the 80's,
the Turks and Kurdish, Scots, Welsh and English Republicans,
the firemen? Is North Belfast just the tip of the
iceberg, a ground zero for something that has ramifications
for all political activists and ethnic minorities
deemed hostile or subversive by the state?
for now, all we can be sure of is this one scared
child in Belfast. The trail starts with him. The Orange
phone number he was given has been removed from Orange's
database - that much has been uncovered by the IRSP.
It is our understanding that this phone was not a
"pay as you go", but rather had an account
and as such must have generated a bill. Who paid that
bill and, more importantly, who approached Orange
to remove the number and who at Orange acted to cover
up this act of state sponsored child abuse?
every meeting the boy was given 80 pounds by his RUC/PSNI
handlers. Who signed for this money, who authorised
its use and who put it into the boy's hands?
McQuillan, the deputy chief constable of the RUC/PSNI
who would, under law, need to approve the use of such
a young and "vulnerable" intelligence source
has been quick to wash his hands in public over this:
would have to authorise something like this and I
have not. If an officer has done this it would be
a serious breach," or words to that effect.
been an Irp all my life and I've never seen a peeler
so quick to get his denial in first. Surprisingly
he did not say, 'I'm confident the PSNI would never
do such a thing', he just said, 'I didn't do it'.
A strange thing for a senior RUC/PSNI officer to say
about his force, or is it?
take two steps forward and look again just at the
North of Ireland. It has been clear for sometime those
elements within the RUC/PSNI loyal to the old Ascendancy
have been working with people inside the media with
a similar agenda to destabilise the Peace Process.
The raid on the Sinn Fein office was so media staged
that it turned out campier than a Whitehall farce.
In the interviews outside Stormont, Hugh Orde would
only say that he knew the raid was going to take place.
No one in the press pack thought to ask why the warrant
was not executed at the same time as the homes of
Sinn Fein employees and supporters were raided. Sure
any police force in the world would know how to co-ordinate
an operation like that.
came for the press and the press dutifully bayed for
the blood of alleged spies. A democratically elected
Assembly was brought down, two peoples were disenfranchised.
face it, the Assembly was a lame duck and a waste
of money that would have been better spent in pay
raises in the public sector and kidney machines. But,
there is an unmissible parallel between these two
spy stories. In one, a police force abuses its power
and brings down a democratically elected body and
the media don't ask questions. In the other, that
same force are exposed using a mentally under developed
child to spy for them. And still the media don't ask
is no press pack hounding Orde and Mc Quillan. The
Policing Board took two weeks to get back to the IRSP
when they tried to contact them. Questions need to
be asked about what happened to this boy and no one
seems to want to ask them or even consider the wider
ranging implications of what has been uncovered by
the INLA. Why? Are nationalist politicians and newspapers
so wedded to this sectarian agreement that they are
willing to sacrifice the rights and welfare of this
child and who knows how many others on its altar?
Are the organs of the state, the BBC and ITN, so toothless
that they turn a blind eye while the State and/or
Ascendancy blackmail and corrupt the innocent? Of
course they are, that's a given. Their only concern
is to spoon-feed the population drivel and sanitised
versions of the truth. A version that cannot be allowed
to show that the Agreement has not worked and will
not work. How can it work when unionists are still
empowered with a built-in veto and the much vaunted
reform of the RUC cannot prevent a disabled boy from
being abused and debased for low grade intelligence
work? The deafening silence that surrounds the October
15th break in at the Bloody Sunday Inquire in London
and the fact that English MP's are forced to ask questions
as to why the writings of LVF murder victim, journalist
Martin O' Hagan have yet to be returned to his family
and publisher only serve to add grist to this mill.
What has changed? The only thing that I can see that
has changed is the unwillingness of the nationalist
press to take up any issue that is not rubber stamped
by Sinn Fein or the Brits.
has happened before of course, the media manipulation,
the covering up of dissent, control of perception,
control of the population by using their children
to spy on them. I wonder where it was?
closing, and at the risk of being sued by John Grisham,
I would like to pose a challenge to those of the nationalist
press in Ireland and the middle-Left broadsheets of
Britain. Close your eyes, imagine the terror of a
13 year old Irish boy with learning difficulties lifted
off the street at his most vulnerable, denied his
basic human and legal right to be seen by his family
or by social services. Alone, scared, with the police
all around you, telling you that you're going to prison
if you don't sell the defenders of your community
for 80 pounds a time. Imagine the fear he then had
to live with, the stress the fear of exposure must
have generated in his young mind every time he left
his home. Then forget that the boy is Irish. Don't
see him as Muslim or the son of some Lefty trade unionist.
Imagine it's your son. Then open your eyes, take your
fingers out of your backsides and drag this whole
sordid mess out into the public domain where it belongs.
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