Danny Morrison: Republicans and loyalists have shown honesty but the British Government hasn’t
The British Government has “more to hide” from a truth process than anyone else — a one-time IRA member and former Sinn Fein strategist has told the Belfast Telegraph.
Danny Morrison is the man who coined the phrase “the armalite and the ballot box”, used at the time to define the republican movement’s dual armed and political strategy.
He has publicly admitted that he was a member of the IRA and served a jail term, but has never discussed his role or rank within the IRA.
His conviction was later quashed, but no reason was given on grounds of national security.
He believes he was set up for arrest by the agent Stakeknife — working for the Army inside the IRA’s internal security department. The informer, Freddie Scappaticci, fled Belfast after being exposed.
“Publish the Stevens Inquiry on collusion — 2,983 pages of which have been suppressed — and then maybe we can talk about honesty and truth,” Morrison told this newspaper.
On the question of information recovery, he said he did not believe that the British Government would be “an honest contributor to such a process were such a process established”. This is one of the reasons why republicans rejected the proposed Eames-Bradley mechanism — that the Government would establish a Legacy Commission and write its remit.
“My criticism is that whilst republicans and loyalists, either individually or as organisations, have shown a great degree of honesty and have tried to establish the truth or, understandably, a variety of ‘truths’, that type of honesty is not forthcoming from the British Government, which, in my opinion, has more to hide than any other protagonist to the conflict,” Morrison said.
“From grassroots to leadership, local people in the North belonging to proscribed organisations went to prison,” he added.
“Republicans more than loyalists, loyalists more than the British intelligence agencies, which manipulated mainly them, but also through infiltration, republicans.”
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams has said an international body such as the UN must establish a process on the past, and if that were to happen then he would participate and would encourage other republicans to do so.
“Read a book like Caroline Elkins’s Britain’s Gulag about what the British Army did in Kenya in my lifetime and you will understand who fears the truth most — the British Government, protecting its imperialist history,” Morrison claimed.
“They will never participate in an honest truth process.”
That question of participation is seen as key to the success of any process — not just British participation, but the co-operation of many other sides, including the IRA and loyalist organisations.