Gerry Adams: WikiLeaks and British lies in Ireland

Roundup: Media's Take

[Gerry Adams is president of Sinn Féin, member of the Legislative Assembly of Northern Ireland for West Belfast and abstentionist MP for West Belfast at Westminster.]

In June I stood in the Guildhall Square in Derry and watched as the relatives of the 14 innocent victims of the British Parachute Regiment expressed their delight at the Saville report's conclusion that the 14 were innocent victims. After Bloody Sunday, the British system and, to its shame, much of the British media, accused those who had been shot of being "gunmen" and "bombers". Lies were told and a cover-up concocted and the British establishment closed ranks to defend the actions of its army. That lie persisted for decades.

In countless actions over decades of war, the British army and RUC strategy employed shoot-to-kill operations, plastic bullets, mass raids on homes, torture, curfews and intimidation, and collusion between state forces and unionist death squads to kill many hundreds of citizens. And they tried to intimidate a whole community.

The full resources of the British state – including legal, judicial, and propaganda – were brought to bear. It was frequently claimed that victims were gunmen or women whose weapons were spirited away by hostile crowds; or who made actions which gave soldiers cause to believe they were armed or a threat; or who ran away from patrols justifying their being shot. The truth is still denied to relatives in many of these cases.

It was also often said that the north was the British state's training ground for its military and intelligence system. The truth of that is evident in the revelations contained in some of the 90,000 US military files that have been posted on the WikiLeaks website and carried in detail in a number of newspapers, including the Guardian, the New York Times and Der Spiegal. The files reveal a depth of failure in the military strategy of Nato than has heretofore been evident in the media coverage of the war.

The Afghanistan experience and the techniques and strategies and propaganda employed in that war are not exceptional. They fit a pattern which will be familiar to people who watched or reported on the war in Ireland...

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