Protestant alleges links between N. Ireland loyalists and British state
December 21, 2009 3 Comments
By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
On November 9, 1997, Royal Air Force officer Raymond McCord Jr. was beaten to death in Belfast, Northern Ireland, by members of the Mount Vernon branch of the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF). McCord’s beating was one of many instances in which Northern Ireland’s most violent loyalist gang targeted members of its own Protestant community. The difference in McCord’s case was that his father, Raymond McCord Sr., decided to come forward and speak out about the decades-old collusion between Northern Irish loyalist paramilitaries and Britain’s security services. Despite repeated death threats and intimidation, McCord’s campaign prompted an official investigation into the matter by Northern Ireland’s police ombudsman Nuala O’Loan. Her 2007 report confirmed that the leader of the Mount Vernon UVF, Mark Haddock, had been repeatedly protected by police authorities, despite being routinely implicated in extortion, blackmail, drug dealing and arson, as well as in dozens of paramilitary-style attacks that resulted in 16 murders and 10 attempted murders. Last October, McCord and O’Loan were among a handful of witnesses called to testify before the Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights and Oversight, which operates under the US House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs. The Subcommittee has just published McCord’s written testimony (.pdf). In it, McCord accuses “many of the leading UVF men” of being “in fact [British Police] Special Branch informants”. Among them was the UVF’s so-called brigadier general, who was actually a long-term “agent of the state”, claims McCord. He also alleges that members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary, Northern Ireland’s police force, systematically argued in defense of UVF members each time they were arrested on terrorism suspicions. Speaking before the Subcommittee’s members, McCord urged the British government “to hold up their hands, come clean, and tell the truth. They did collude with terrorist organizations and should now apologize and compensate the victims’ families”, he said (p.4).