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Letters: Make groups accountable for murders

'COLLUSION' is an ugly word. It is also a festering sore, needing cauterised by searing truth. Without truth, justice is hamstrung.

Those plotting the Shankill bomb factored in, and then disregarded, inevitable loyalist retaliation. The IRA also used their barrack-buster mortar to murder nine police officers in Newry.

They then exported that technology to Colombia, where terrorists used it to murder more than 100 people in a Catholic church. Collusion begets collusion. And violence begets violence.

Mark Haddock and Freddie Scappatticci ran 'nutting squads' for the UVF and IRA. They were paid agents of British intelligence.

The leaders of all three organisations should be held to account for conspiracy to murder.

In Ballymurphy, Daniel Teggert was shot by the Paratroop Regiment. The IRA also shot one of his sons. Sinn Fein now calls for an inquiry into the killing of a father, but not his son.

Let the Troubles statistics speak for themselves. The IRA was the biggest killer. Among its "regrettable consequences of war" were the deaths of 80 children.

Sinn Fein says the IRA resorted to violence because there was no political alternative. Nonsense.

Sinn Fein was never debarred from contesting elections. Its chosen first option was support for violence. When the Shankill bomb killed 10 of his constituents, Gerry Adams had been MP for 10 years.

BRIAN ROONEY

Downpatrick

 

Amnesty a bad idea as Army unit's sins revealed

I WONDER if the Attorney General, John Larkin, had foreknowledge of the BBC Panorama programme detailing the activities of the Army's Military Reaction Force (MRF). Probably not, but it illustrates why a de facto amnesty is the very opposite of a good idea.

The absence of any meaningful acknowledgement that the Army operated outside its own rules of engagement in targeting unarmed citizens not involved with paramilitary organisations continues now.

That an Army unit was allowed to operate in such a way will surprise no-one who has looked at the history of the Troubles.

This policy reflected the view held by many in the security forces that the Catholic/nationalist community was a 'problem' that needed to be solved, that the whole Catholic/nationalist community supported the IRA and that the best way to address terrorism was to act like a terrorist.

This led to a whole community being labelled as terrorists and to innocent men and women being killed by forces of the state.

Colonel Richard Kemp, who served in Northern Ireland – although not while the MRF was operating – credited their actions with being so effective that the IRA was forced to negotiate. Really? This from a man who commanded the Army in Afghanistan – another arena in which, it has been argued, the actions of foreign military forces have radicalised local communities, leading, in turn, to the deaths of our own forces.

ROBERT HALL

By email

 

JFK might have been spared if he wore his hat

WHEN John F Kennedy used to go visiting, he would descend from Air Force One clutching a hat in his hand – especially if he was travelling without his wife – then the hat would be slipped to an aide as he did the handshakes.

It was strange to see a man carrying a hat that he never put on his head; like car-owners who place a 'baby on board' sticker in the rear window of the car.

It would have been much smarter if he had donned something a little more protective on that fateful sunny day in Dallas.

If he had, it's most likely that he would have survived and went gone on to win the 1964 election.

But the gods decreed that it was not to be. And the gods, as we know, sometimes do work in very strange ways.

PADDY O'BRIEN

By email

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