Posts Tagged ‘John Wight’

Declassified Irish Documents: MI5 Tried to Get UVF to Assassinate Charles Haughey

January 3, 2018

There’s an interesting article in Counterpunch today by John Wight, which might add a new dimension to the government losing around 2,000 files from the National Archives last week. The files were supposed to have been taken out by Home Office civil servants, and covered a range of very sensitive incidents, from the notorious Zinoviev Letter, through to the assassination in the 1970s of the Bulgarian dissident Georgi Markov, and the dirty war in Northern Ireland. Human Rights campaigners were alarmed in case this was an attempt to cover up human rights violations by the British state in Ulster in the long campaign against the IRA and related terror groups. The Zinoviev Letter, you will remember, was the forged letter by the British security services, which purported to be from Zinoviev, the head of Stalin’s Comintern, congratulating the Labour party on preparing to take over Britain in a revolution.

A number of Labour MPs have already made their feeling about the disappearance of the files clear, stating that this is another Orwellian attempt by the Tories to rewrite or obscure history.

It is, and this isn’t the first time the Tories have borrowed sensitive files to make sure they’re out of circulation. Anyone remember a similar incident a few years ago, when government documents similarly went missing from the archives, only for the minister responsible to claim that he had just ‘innocently’ taken them away to help him with a book he was writing? I didn’t believe that story then. The Tories have offered no excuse now, which does make you wonder what they’re trying to hide.

Some clue to this comes from Irish government documents from the 1980s that have been released under their 30-year rule. This includes a letter from the Protestant terrorist group, the UVF, to Charles Haughey, informing him that they were approached by an MI5 officer, who wished them to assassinate the Irish president. John Wight in his article about this in today’s Counterpunch writes

Said papers confirm that in 1987 the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), one of the oldest and most notorious of the various loyalist/Protestant paramilitary organizations that were engaged in sectarian violence in the province during the Troubles, wrote to the then Irish Prime Minister Charles Haughey in Dublin, informing him that in 1985 they were approached by Britain’s domestic intelligence service, MI5, with a request to assassinate him.

We learn that in the letter the UVF told Mr Haughey, “In 1985 we were approached by a MI5 officer attached to the NIO (Northern Ireland Office) and based in Lisburn, AlexJones was his supposed name. He asked us to execute you.” The letter subsequently goes on to allege that Britain’s MI5 supplied the group with information such as pictures of Haughey’s home, his private yacht, and details of the vehicles he travelled in.

The UVF refused follow through on MI5’s request, telling Mr Haughey, “We have no love for you but we are not going to carry out work for the Dirty Tricks Department of the British.”

https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/01/03/britains-dirty-war-in-ireland-revisited/

In fact, MI5 and the British government probably weren’t the only ones making covert plans to overthrow the opposite side. Way back in the 1980s or ’90s, Lobster covered a piece in the Irish Republican newspaper, An Phoblacht, which claimed that there had been a scheme during Haughey’s premiership to stir up sectarian violence in order to provide a pretext for an invasion of Ulster from the Republic. The plan was that after rioting and sectarian violence, armed forces from the south would enter the Six Countries as a peace-keeping force. If this is also true, then nobody, on either side of the Irish border, ends up looking good. Or anything other than deeply duplicitous and murderous.

In fact, there is plenty of evidence that the British state was supplying intelligence to the loyalist terror gangs, so that they could assassinate leading Republicans, as Wight’s article goes on to discuss. And there is also evidence that secret SAS units were being embedded within regular army units in Northern Ireland to act as death squads. All of which makes it very clear that there’s much in the files that this Tory government would very, very much want to hide.

Mike has already suggested that a way to stop files going missing in the future would be for the National Archives to be run like a proper library: those borrowing books have a ticket, and it is known who has borrowed what, and that they must return it on time. I completely agree, but this is too efficient, and would prevent the government from having a convenient pretext with which to lose files when their contents prove inconvenient.

And the government’s behaviour in this respect is very much like the Russian authorities during the old Communist system. Foreign researchers were at liberty to use files in the Soviet archives. However, if you wanted something sensitive or incriminating, you’d be told that those files were out. Which sounds exactly like what has been going on here.

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CounterPunch on the Real Reasons for the Accusations of Anti-Semitism against Corbyn and the Labour Party

May 5, 2016

John Wight wrote a piece for CounterPunch, published on their blog on the 14th April, on the real reason for the accusations of anti-Semitism directed against Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party. Wight argues that it’s being done to protect the position of the Labour Friends of Israel in the party, and to delegitimise any protests or discussion of the Israeli state’s oppression of the Palestinians. He points out that Israel is feeling pressure from the campaign to boycott Israeli goods made in the occupied territories. And he also makes the point that Corbyn is a target, not because he is anti-Semitic, but because he has spoken to members of Hamas and Hezbollah.

The article begins:

A measure of Britain’s regressive political culture in 2016 is that while a media storm is whipped up over the few incidences of antisemitism by a tiny number of Labour Party members, there is nothing, not a peep, over the existence and activities of Labour Friends of Israel, a faction of pro-Israel Labour MPs and members.

This media storm, make no mistake, is less to do with confronting a rising tide of antisemitism, as important as that would be if it comprised the threat some are attempting to argue it does, and more to do with the attempt to delegitimize solidarity with the Palestinians and their ongoing struggle for human rights, self determination, and liberation from the most sustained oppression that a people has been condemned to endure in modern history.

It is the fact that Israel’s brutal subjugation of an entire people for the crime of daring to exist is allowed to go on year after year, with the support and connivance of the political mainstream in the UK and throughout the West, which leaves us in no doubt that those who have extended themselves in exposing and rooting out antisemitism are complicit in that subjugation.

He further states

What this ‘antisemites under the bed’ crowd are really responding to is not the recrudescence of the fascism-cum-1930s they would like us to believe is upon us. No, what they are responding to is the growing support for BDS and its success in highlighting the grotesque injustice that describes the day to day reality for the Palestinians and in breaking through the political cordon sanitaire around Israel that had long prevented any serious challenge to its right to exist as an apartheid state. We know this to be the case because Western governments, still wedded to unconditional support for Israel regardless of its repeated violations of international law and refusal to budge an inch from the exceptionalism it has long exploited to be able to so with impunity, are intent on making boycotting Israel a criminal offence.

He also makes these observations on how grotesque using the slur of anti-Semitism is to smear decent people concerned with tackling the racism of the Israeli state.

Antisemitism is so serious, has led to some of the most heinous acts of human cruelty ever committed, that exploiting it in pursuit of censoring those who are committed to confronting the cruelty of apartheid and occupation in the name of its past victims, is the real offense.

And states very clearly that it is deliberate attempt to smear as anti-Semitic any support of the Palestinians.

The point is that the campaign that is currently underway to label Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party a party riddled with antisemites and antisemitism cannot be separated from the issue of Palestine, a cause that Corbyn has been active in over many years. Antisemitism in support of the Palestinians is of course unacceptable on any level, and when it arises within the Palestine solidarity movement must be confronted. However, it is also in the interest of Israel and its supporters to besmirch said solidarity movement with antisemitism in order to attack its credibility and to deter others from joining it and acting on their conscience in what, by any objective measure, is a clear case of injustice and oppression.

The full article can be read at: http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/04/14/the-real-reason-corbyn-is-under-press-to-root-out-anti-semitism/