Eamonn McCann RFÉ 26 November 2016

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Martin Galvin (MG) speaks to People Before Profit MP Eamonn McCann (EM) via telephone from Doire about the relationship between Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Sinn Féin, the recent controversy about a grant from the Social Investment Fund and about legacy issues in The North of Ireland. (begins time stamp ~ 9:47)

MG:   Eamonn McCann, welcome back Radio Free Éireann!

EM:   Hello! Yes.

MG:   Yes, Eamonn, can you hear me? Welcome back Radio Free Éireann!

EM:   Yes, I can indeed. I can indeed. Hello. Yep, yep, I’m here.

MG :  Eamonn, this is Martin Galvin and I want to ask you: We were talking about how different it must be instead of working as a journalist and an activist and a civil rights campaigner to be on the inside. But I want to begin: I’m reading from I believe it’s last Monday’s Irish News – there’s what we would call an Op-Ed or and opinion editorial – it’s called there a ‘platform’ piece. And it says: This is what delivery looks like – no gimmicks, no grandstanding – and you have the smiling faces of Martin McGuinness and Arlene Foster and some of the members of their respective parties, the DUP and Sinn Féin, and just some of the things they talked about – the significant achievement – they’ve put in place five hundred million welfare reform mitigation package to protect vulnerable people. They said that no effort is being spared to grow our economy and create new and better jobs. They said they have radial reforms to transform health and social care designed to make it truly world-class, a ten-year vision to straighten out the health services and the waiting lists and they are going to China soon to negotiate with the Chinese to bring even more employment and more progress to The North of Ireland. And I’m trying to figure if– they say that anybody else, people like you, who are not part of that coalition, you’re just interested in endless squabbles and causing problems and division and in bringing the Conservatives to rule without a mandate and after reading this I’m sure you wanted to leave People Before Profit and join either the DUP or Sinn Féin, is that… I’m being facetious. What was your response?

EM:   I think that would be a wee bit wide of the mark.

MG:   I’m being facetious, obviously.

EM:   Well one of the striking things about being in Stormont, in fact the most striking thing, is just how close Sinn Féin and the DUP are. Of course in general terms and political terms we’ve all witnessed this convergence over recent years. But on an ordinary person-to-person level, sort of in terms of the tone of conversation, the extent to which the two parties stand up and defend one another, not just agree with one another but defend one another, is truly remarkable. There was an incident just last week where Alex Atwood of the SDLP (Social Democratic and Labour Party) was speaking – I actually forget about what and it doesn’t matter – but he was speaking and he was then followed by a member of Sinn Féin, I think Mr. McPhillips from Fermanagh – I’m not sure but a Sinn Féin MLA. And wonders of wonders: One of the DUP members of the Assembly got up and shouted, interruption sort of, and said to the member of Sinn Féin: Will the member give way? And of course the member of Sinn Féin said: Yes, certainly. And the question from the DUP is: Would you, (that is the Sinn Féin MLA), would you agree with me that Alex Atwood was talking a load of nonsense? Or words to that effect. And of course the Sinn Féin man said to the DUP man: Yes, indeed! I agree with you. The SDLP are talking a load of nonsense.

Now here you have the situation where the DUP and Sinn Féin were combining, in public, in formal terms in the Assembly, ganging up on the SDLP. Now whatever you think about the SDLP, certainly they’re not part of this coalition government, and for that they are regarded as fair game by Sinn Féin and the DUP. I think the time has come when we have to refer to this as a coalition government. Increasingly, Sinn Féin and the DUP, the Democratic Unionist Party, are not only talking in parallel terms they are speaking in unison – saying the same things. It’s a quite remarkable transformation.

MG:   Well Eamonn, just one of the issues where this comes up is in terms of legacy issues; there’s a number of legacy issues. And I know you commented recently on the new British Minister, James Brokenshire, and you said that he was a despicable individual – and you were told you couldn’t do that – so you said: Well I’ll just think it. I won’t say it. But how does Sinn Féin, which supposedly or should be supporting justice on a whole range of people killed by British forces, killed or victims of collusion, killed by well either by directly by British Crown Forces or by people who may have worked with and been aided by and paid by members of Crown Forces, how do they and Arlene Foster, who denies that such things ever happened, how did they get together on issues like legacy issues?

EM:   Well, they stay silent about it is one of the new things that the do or at least they stay silent about any difference that the two parties might have sort of on the so-called legacy issues. After all, it’s the DUP is holding up – for example, for example: There’s a number of, quite a number, of inquests, some from forty years ago and more than forty years ago, which haven’t been held yet. And they haven’t been held yet because the British government refuses to release information relevant to these inquests about the investigations – over whatever death was concerned, sort of what internal memos and documents sort of refer to this death in terms of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the Home Office and so forth – other departments of the British government. The British government has been holding all this up. And the DUP, of course, are quite happy with that. The DUP are quite happy that nothing should be done and their immediate reason, there’s historical reasons, of course, and ideological reasons why the DUP would take that view, but the immediate reason which they use is that if the inquest were allowed to go ahead, if the inquiries which have been called for into Ballymurphy, for example, the Ballymurphy Massacre of August 1971, this would amount to giving equal status to people killed by British forces on the grounds, on the entirely spurious grounds, that they were terrorists, it would give them equal status with members of the British security forces so the DUP would hold it off.

Now the remarkable thing is that they’re able to do this and Sinn Féin isn’t creating the type of fuss about this which would have been the case just a few years ago and which some people might think would be appropriate now because if Sinn Féin were to say what many, many members of Sinn Féin and certainly supporters of Sinn Féin think and feel – if they were to denounce the DUP in forthright terms – say that they, the DUP, are actually supporting murder and colluding in the denial of truth to the families of victims – if they were to say that then, if Sinn Féin were to say that about the DUP – the coalition might fall apart! And maybe it wouldn’t but it might fall apart but risk the coalition falling apart – so they don’t say anything about a whole series of issues on which the Executive, Sinn Féin and the DUP, are more or less silent, or at least one or the other of them is silent, because to face the issue would reveal that they have contradictory approaches, or at least their supporters do, and it could have the effect of destabilising and even bringing down the Executive. So keeping the show on the road at Stormont, keeping the coalition going takes precedent over anything else in Northern politics at the moment. That’s the explanation of the DUP and Sinn Féin sticking together in circumstances where their own supporters are confused and dismayed at what they see before them.

MG:   Well one of the issues that has come about is a grant of one point seven million pounds to Charter NI through the Social Investment Fund and it turns out that one of the leading figures there, Dee Stitt, is alleged to be a member of an illegal, still illegal, organisation, the UDA, (Ulster Defence Association) – it’s been reported that that allegation has been made – and that is an organisation, of course, which was directly involved in collusion murders of Nationalists, of innocent people. How do they stand together on that issue?

EM:   Well, they all just accept it, of course. You know, I’m not sure how much the listeners know about this but as you said that under the last agreement, the Stormont House Agreement, in The North this Social Investment Fund (SIF) was set up as an eighty million pounds fund to help disadvantaged areas. Now, everybody in the area knew that what that really meant was subsidise and promote members of paramilitary organisations in order to bring them in from the cold; to involve them in the political process. And one of the ways that that’s being done is exemplified in the Charter NI organisation where Mr. Dee Stitt, as you say is the Chief Executive. Dee Stitt – let’s be blunt about it: Dee Stitt – it’s not that he has a history of paramilitarism – he is right now one of the main leaders of the Ulster Defence Association, a sectarian murder gang. Dee Stitt is one of the leaders of this gang, the UDA, and of course so he’s a prime candidate to receive some of this money because he and his associates, the theory is, have to be bribed and bought off and lured into constitutional politics with the offer of preferment, and in Dee Stitt’s case, the offer of a job – it’s thirty-five pounds a year which is not a fortune by capitalist standards but it’s a very, very good wage indeed in a working class area of The North of Ireland.

So I made the point in the Assembly that while a number of commentators were saying that this money had been paid to Charter NI and to Dee Stitt, the Chief Executive of Charter NI, that this money was being paid despite the fact that Dee Stitt was a member of a paramilitary organisation. And I pointed out that this was wrong. He’s being paid the money not despite the fact that he was a paramilitary godfather but because he was a paramilitary godfather. In other words it was a requirement for the job! It was one of the things that you needed to be able to put on your CV when you’re applying for the job because if you weren’t a member of a paramilitary organisation why give you money which is intended to lure paramilitary leaders to the path of peace and constitutional politics and so forth?

So the DUP did that. They wanted to do some (inaudible) with the people who support the UDA, sort of to bring the UDA in from the cold. So they’re not open about it but Arlene Foster, for example, happened to be photographed alongside Dee Stitt. The Speaker of the Stormont Assembly, Robin Newton, is an adviser to Charter NI, the outfit where Dee Stitt is the CEO. And the DUP is relatively open about this and Sinn Féin goes along with because if Sinn Féin were denounce the DUP for that issue – the Loyalist paramilitaries, for sectarian killers, for Dee Stitt – if Sinn Féin were to denounce the DUP for this that again would risk destabilising the DUP/Sinn Féin coalition. Once again, keeping the show on the road at Stormont takes precedence over everything even to the moral objections that many people might have about giving large amounts of public money to people who are leaders of a sectarian, paramilitary organisation. So all morality has gone out of the window here.

MG:   Alright. Eamonn, we want to ask you about where we stand in terms of Bloody Sunday. It seems every sort of delay – the last thing was a long investigation, a new investigation, had to be conducted by the PSNI (Police Service of Northern Ireland). That concluded. Files were sent to the Public Prosecution Service. You’ve had a British Prime Minister stand up and say that these killings were ‘unjustified and unjustifiable’. Now to me, as a lawyer in New York, you have justified killings, like self-defence or you’re protecting the life of someone else, and then if you have an unjustified killing that is, by definition, murder or manslaughter or it falls into one of the crimes under murder. Why is it that nothing seems to have been announced even though the Public Prosecution Service has had these files, after so many other delays, they now have these files and we don’t know when, if ever, they’ll announce any kind of prosecutions of British soldiers?

EM:   Well that’s true – we don’t know when, if ever. My guess would be: Never! The huge numbers of people in the British Establishment, very powerful people in the British Establishment, including military officers and retired, very senior officers from the British Army, have made it clear that they are totally opposed to any of the soldiers who murdered civil rights demonstrators in Doire – they are against any of these soldiers being charged. So there’s no British government that I can imagine, now or in the future, is going to risk a confrontation sort of with it’s senior military commanders and people within the civil service and the rest of it who don’t want soldiers charged for anything they did in Northern Ireland. I can’t see a British government actually standing up to that particularly, particularly when the British government well understands, as do the senior military officers, that any proper investigation of Bloody Sunday, if they brought the soldiers to trial -let’s imagine: Say you are one of the paratroopers, a private way back sort of in 1972, who fired some of the fatal shots in the Bogside back then – if they now come along, haul you into court, put you in the dock – what are you going to do? You’re going to spill the beans – aren’t you?! You know, it would take some sort of super-patriot, British patriot of some sort, to take the rap for murder in Doire while the people ordered you to go and murder people in Doire got off the hook and got away scot-free. So they are afraid. The British government, the British authorities, are really afraid of a Bloody Sunday trial of the soldiers and for that reason I don’t believe it’s ever going to happen. That doesn’t mean we don’t campaign for it. At the very least we should demand that what’s right ought to be done – and that the people killed on Bloody Sunday are entitled to be regarded as human beings and citizens, same as anybody else, and if you kill an innocent citizen – that’s murder. That’s murder. You deliberately point a gun at an innocent person, pull the trigger, there might be strange circumstances where it’s merely manslaughter, but almost always it will be murder and certainly it’s unlawful killing.

And of course those are not the only unlawful killings carried out by British security forces over the course of the conflict here but they’re the most high-profile, the Bloody Sunday killings, and therefore they’ve become iconic, emblematic sort of of the British role in The North here so I don’t see any resolution coming up in this but that’s all the more reason, as far as I’m concerned, to keep on demanding it in order to expose them, not to allow them to bury the Bloody Sunday issue quietly as they’ve been trying to do for many years.

MG:   Alright, Eamonn. I’m going to ask you one final question and then let you go: On legacy issues – I believe I’ve read some of the reports of statements that you’ve made in Stormont and one of the things that you said was James Brokenshire, who is the new British Secretary appointed by Westminster to preside over The North of Ireland, took over for Theresa Villiers, you said that he was despicable and that the British government, the government he represents, doesn’t care about any of the Irish victims who were killed by collusion or by British Crown Forces. Why do you believe that to be true?

EM: Yeah. Well I not only believe that to be true I went on to say that I don’t believe the British government cares about it’s own people. It doesn’t care about people, for example, the people killed in the Birmingham bomb, 1974 – more than twenty innocent people in two pubs, the Talk of the Town and the Mulberry Bush, in the centre of Birmingham – people out for a night, on a Friday night – they’re blown to bits by two IRA bombs. Now, that’s bad enough but then as it turns out, and people listening might remember the Birmingham Six, who were convicted of this horrendous crime. And they served sixteen years in prison before they were released after having shown not only that they didn’t do but that they couldn’t have done it on the basis of the evidence which was actually in the possession of the authorities in Britain at the time, it was clear that the Birmingham Six, Paddy Hill and the rest of them, couldn’t have been the people who planted the bombs. Nevertheless, they went on and framed them. Why would they have done that? – you have to ask. Well the reason why they did that is that at least one British agent was involved in planting the Birmingham bombs and presumably because, and this is speculation to some extent, but because the calculation was that this would discredit the IRA, sort of in the eyes of people who regarded them a noble organisation, so they covered up the killings of the victims of the IRA – of their own citizens! Now, having done that what chance does anybody think that there is of them coming clean about killings they conducted in The North?

And might I say some of the relatives of those killed in the Birmingham bombs are now campaigning very strongly for inquests, for the truth to be told at last and they now realise, and I’ve talked to a number of them, and they now realise, clearly – one of them said to me, Julie Hambleton – sister Maxine, seventeen years old, was one of the people killed in the Birmingham bombs and Julie said to me:

We were lied to by the police. We were lied to by the courts. We were lied to by the politicians. We were lied to by judges. We were lied to by the Home Office. All of these people, the highest authorities in Britain, lied to us about the way and the reasons why our loved ones died.

That’s what the British government is up to in relation to Birmingham. You can imagine what they’re up to when it comes to considering killings by British agents or through collusion with British agents in Belfast. So that’s where that issue generally lies. There isn’t going to be a resolution of it, it seems to me, and therefore, and I’ve talked to some of the Birmingham people about this – this means we’ve got to just keep on keeping on – just every day just push and push and push and push. And if we can’t get the truth out of them at least we will get the truth out to the world that these people are liars – they are themselves – James Brokenshire, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, he is colluding in covering up the murder of citizens here in The North. Theresa May is colluding in the cover-up of murder in Northern Ireland. They all are. So why, in light of that, only a fool would expect the British to come clean about any of these things.

MG:   Alright, Eamonn, we want to welcome you back again. Thank you for being with us again on Radio Free Éireann and we look forward to having you again – back with us again in future. And a special shout out and thanks to Kate Nash who was able to get in contact with you and insure that you’d be with us today to provide this information.

EM:   Okay. Well you know yourself: If Kate Nash phones you up and says: I want you to do such and such you just have to do it.

MG:   I know that first hand – you’re talking to somebody’s who’s gone through it. Thank you, Eamonn.

EM:   Yeah. Okay. Bye. Bye. (ends time stamp ~ 30:59)

Eamonn McCann: The Murder of Sam Marshall

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The Murder of Sam Marshall
Conway Mill Education Centre Belfast
15 March 2012

Eamonn McCann makes the closing address at a public meeting held to mark the thirteenth anniversary of the murder of Rosemary Nelson and to promote the publication of The Murder of Sam Marshall. Rosemary’s work continues…

Eamonn McCann: One of the things that struck me, the first thing that struck me at the meeting here was when Padraigin talked about people challenging her right to hold meetings, to investigate and to highlight a killing when there was a reason to believe it was state collusion. And she said anybody’s got the right to do that because it’s in everybody’s interest to bring out the truth when the state kills its citizens. And that lies at the heart of what we’re talking about here today.

When the state murders citizens every single person has got a vested interest in bringing the state to account and unearthing the truth about what had happened. Because unless we do it, we are giving the state the right to kill other people. We’re telling them that it’s okay for you to do that as long as there’s some facade to cover it up. And that’s not just a Northern Irish thing or an Irish thing or a British thing.  It happens everywhere. But it happens particularly in this place of course because of the political situation that we’ve had as the result of colonialism and sectarianism and all the other aspects, the ugly aspects of life in this part of the world.

The Force Research Unit

And I would say – Brendan was doing the power point presentation there and looking up at that like little group sort of gunmen like a Hole in the Wall Gang all posed sort of in front of their cars with their weapons. And one of them of course, one of the guys in the front there is Ian Hurst. People who know what I’m talking about. Ex-member of the FRU (Force Research Unit) and the guy’s had a very colourful career since. He’s actually involved in the Leveson Inquiry into phone hacking in Britain at the minute. He’s one of the reasons why there is a Leveson Inquiry. He’s one of the reasons that there was such a scandal over phone hacking and the invasion of peoples’ emails and all the rest of it.

Because of course he fell out with the FRU. He fell out with his British intelligence masters afterwards and involved himself a lot controversy and under a number of names, issuing statements and writing up his memoirs and all the rest of it. So they decided to investigate him and they went in and hacked his phone. And who did he get to hack his phone? Why some of those very useful people who were also in the pay of Rupert Murdoch and News International.

See the point that I’m making is that once you go into these things the connections go everywhere. The connections spread around from country to country, from area to area and you get into places and scandals that at first sight seem to have nothing to do with Sam Marshall or anything that happened here. And you begin to understand and to see that these thing don’t happen because, solely because of circumstances in the North. They don’t happen solely for political reasons here. They happen because it’s something to do with the very nature of the state that we’re dealing with. And we deal here with the British state although the same points could be made about other states that preside over oppression and colonial exploitation and all the rest of it. And I’ll give you some examples of it.

Mark Duggan, to some of you the name Mark Duggan might ring a little bell. He’s the young black guy who was shot by the London Metropolitan Police in Tottenham during last summer. He’s the guy whose death lead to all the riots and they burned half the country down and some of the young people and everybody said this was a terrible thing to do. Which I suppose in a way it was. (McCann quips) Although I must say I find it difficult to work up the required level of outrage about the riots over there because I’m an irresponsible person. (all laugh)

But the point I’m making is had it not been for that reaction, had it not been for the fact that his family went and stood outside the cop shop on Tottenham High Road and when they didn’t get satisfaction, drew other people to them, the younger members of whom then went to burn the police car, more cops came in, they fought the cops. The next thing you knew, there were forty centres in Britain in flames. If it hadn’t been for that, had it not been for his family standing up, had it not been for other people, initially his own community and then young people of all persuasions and skin colors coming out and fighting the cops in the street, had it not been for that…there would never have been an admission, which was finally produced: That he had been unarmed. That he hadn’t pulled a gun. There’s no question of him threatening the cop. But they shot him in cold blood. There’s still no justice in that case of course – there’s still a long, long way to go but even that tiny bit of the truth would never have come out without the campaign.

I see parallels in all those things. I see parallels and the point that I’m making is that if British people were to say: ‘That has nothing to do us. This is the type of thing that happens over in Northern Ireland where there’s all sorts of crazy people fighting about religion’ – or whatever their understanding of it is here insofar as they say that they’re leaving themselves vulnerable.

Three hundred people! Three hundred people in the last fourteen months (Ed Note: Eamonn later corrects this. He should have said 14 years.) have died in the custody of the police in England and Wales. Isn’t that a remarkable fact? This is in police stations or after arrests or arrested. Three hundred! Nobody convicted! One or two charges against cops but nobody convicted at all. What’s the reasons for that? Is that people don’t get together and fight about it.
Admittedly the circumstances are different. We’ve got a political situation here in which we can relate things like that, the killings to collusion to wider aspects of our society. And there’s then a readiness of people here in the North, for historical reasons, to mobilize around these things and to fight them. When that’s not there. it happens silently. Three hundred deaths in custody and hardly anybody knows that it has happened? How many cops over there are guilty of murder? How many of them are still walking the streets saying Hello! Hello! Hello! and all the rest of it – seeing old ladies across the pedestrian crossings and so on or whatever it is they claim is their function in society.

Murderers! Liars! Conspirators! And we if know that because we see it from outside and can piece these things together the authorities know it! The Home Office knows it. Whatever his name is today, the Justice Department or whatever it is over there. Senior civil servants know it. Major politicians in government of various parties – they all know it!

Sometimes they say that they are people over here in this part of the world: ‘They’ve got blood on their hands’. Owen Paterson was saying it just a couple of weeks ago – there are people here with blood on their hands. Well maybe there are. Well if they’re people here with blood on their hands he and his government are steeped in blood from head to foot! And not one bit ashamed or embarrassed about it at any time!

And if we allow one case to go unremarked, without a campaign about it, without every effort being made to extirpate the evil, to bring the truth out into the open – for as long as you allow that to happen you’re allowing that in the future for it to happen to you, too, and that’s irrespective of what community you come from.

I spent long years, many hundreds of other people campaigning on Bloody Sunday. Halfway through that campaign, about ten years ago, I came across the case on the Shankill Road of Robert Johnston and Robert McKinney. (Ed Note: Both Mr. Johnston and Mr. McKinney were civilians and Protestants.) Robert Johnston and Robert McKinney were shot by the 1st Battalion of the Parachute Regiment on the first week of September in 1972. So that was seven months or whatever that is after Bloody Sunday. One of the soldiers who killed him, not just the same regiment that killed people on Bloody Sunday, not just the same battalion, not just the same company, but the same soldiers! One of them: the man code named ‘Soldier F’, in relation to the killing in Derry when he killed at least five people and possibly seven out of the Bloody Sunday dead. ‘Soldier F’ killed a man called Robert McKinney, sorry Robert Johnston; Robert Johnston and Robert McKinney were the two men.

Robert Johnston was an old guy, an alcoholic, a bit of a character around the streets on the Shankill. Just before he died, the inquest evidence showed him waving his hands in the air about two o’clock in the morning and shouting: ‘I walked these streets in my bare feet in the 30’s’ — that’s when the bullet hit him – waving his hands. And he stood back like this (Eamonn pantomimes aiming a rifle) ‘Soldier F’, (Eamonn mocks Soldier F) – now there’s crazy old galoot there – we’ll do him. Bang! Shot him. Self-loading rifle. Lethal at a thousand metres. Did him at about forty yards. Old man. Drunk.

Why did they believe they could do that? Robert Johnston (Correction: Should be Robert McKinnie) was a man who’d just come back he’d been away in Canada for fifteen years. It was his first day back from his first trip ever. And he went out around the area and they shot him as he was driving his car up Manor Street. And you might think it’s a bit odd, coming from sort of an odd angle to be talking about two guys shot on the Shankill Road by the Paras at this meeting, but there is a connection and there is a lesson to be learned from it.

Why did the Paras think they could get away with all that murder in Derry? Well, one of the reasons was that they had gotten away with it in Ballymurphy the previous August where they murdered ten people! So why wouldn’t they believe they could go down to Doire and shoot into another crowd of people from the same background sort of – out, it was Internment Weekend, Internment Day in Ballymurphy when that started and of course the Bloody Sunday March was an anti-internment march. They got away with it.

And then they come along to the Shankill and they can think: What the hell. We got away with it at Ballymurphy, we got away with it in Derry (or so they thought) so we’ll get away with it here.

And the point is that when Gregory Campbell and people say that Bloody Sunday issue – it has nothing to do with us. That’s just for the Nationalist community – the fact of the matter is is the fact that they got away with it in relation to the Nationalist community which emboldened them in other circumstances to shoot Protestants, too!

It’s in everybody’s interest to stand up against the state to demand the truth from the state when these things happen, when they take the lives of citizens.

And there’s a general truth about this, which goes out across societies and which covers all sorts of people and politics….I’m not a Nationalist in politics. I don’t follow any national flag. Couldn’t case less. Other people take a different view, and I don’t mean to be upsetting anybody, but I don’t care two balls of blue about national flags, or green or anything else.

But I do know this: That in any class-divided society, anywhere where there’s oppression about Catholics or black people or gay people or anything, when we have got a state that is presiding over that the potential is always there, always there for the state to kill citizens and when it does it always covers up. The reason why there hasn’t been an inquest, no – into Sam Marshall is not that they say: ‘Well, we know all the facts’. Well, if you know all the fact then admit all the facts because there’s more facts been said here by Tony and Colin and Brendan tonight that have come out in relation to it than any official inquest or any official investigation.

It’s not the difficulty of establishing the truth about these matters which prevent them investigating – it’s the fact that there’s no difficulty! That’s why they don’t hold an inquest or anything else. There’s no difficulty! The facts are as plain as day. A child could work out whether there was collusion in the killing of Sam Marshall. Yes there was. That’s a fact. It’s not a theory. What we need is an admission of the fact. An acknowledgment of the fact.

Just as it was always clear, at least with the Bloody Sunday case, what had actually happened and who had been responsible. People were never marching to find out the truth. They were marching to insist that the truth be acknowledged. And a bit of it was. They never fully acknowledged the truth of course. They never! You can’t become a minister in a British government with the state forces arranged around the world unless that you can prove that you’re a liar! You wouldn’t be allowed to be in the government if anybody suspected you of being a truth-teller. Because how could you operate? How do you operate at all, there’s so much to cover up,…there’s so much that you have to actively collude in.

And of course – just occurred to me: For example, in relation to one of their big – the glorious British democracy and all the rest of it – is the fact that they told the truth about Bloody Sunday. And Saville came out and everyone applauded. I applauded, too. The families got their acknowledgment And everybody that had been shot and wounded were innocent and that was a great achievement – a great day for the families. Not a bad day for the Brits either mark you. Because the only people who got blamed for it were a bunch of squaddies and one undisciplined officer. Nobody else responsible. Nobody else responsible!

The guy who was the second in command on the streets of Derry at the time, Michael Jackson. I’ve heard some people here, certainly one or two from Derry, fed up listening to me talking about Michael Jackson – General Sir Michael Jackson to give him his full ringing title. I’ll never be fed up about talking about General Jackson, that General Jackson is a murderer! He murdered, He murdered people in Derry and got away with it. Why did he get away with it?

Well, one reason is that between Bloody Sunday and Saville, The Saville Inquiry General Sir Michael Jackson had risen steadily right up the ranks of the British Army until he reached the very top: Chief of the General Staff. Britain’s Number One soldier. That’s what he was in October 2003 when he gave evidence at the Westminster Hall in London. Think about this: If Lord Saville had pointed the finger as he ought to have done, all the evidence was there, if he had pointed the finger at Michael Jackson and said: ‘He shares responsibility for the killings on Bloody Sunday.’ And he was the Chief of the General Staff by that stage could David Cameron have stood up in Westminster and said: ‘These soldiers who did this terrible thing are totally unrepresentative of the British Army and we disown them.’ He couldn’t disown the Chief of the General Staff, could he?

It was politically necessary to get Jackson off the hook and they put Wilford, who was his Commander-on-the-Day, a sort of the other half-mad lechico who commanded the First Battalion there in Derry, they put him on the hook and take Michael Jackson off. Political considerations dictated the percentage of the truth which was going to emerge. And it’s all like that!

The struggle against that, that goes on forever as you said it didn’t start suddenly with Sam Marshall in Lurgan as you said, and it didn’t end with the most recent killings. It’s part of the conditions of life under this type of government. And what we have to do it seems to me for a start we’re doing something here. At least we’re ensuring that these things aren’t forgotten, that the issue is still raised and that it’s still out there demanding to be answered. It also seems to me that every chance that we get we have to broaden some of these things out.

(inaudible) call for the family of Mark Duggan – that Colin or somebody or whoever, the appropriate the person could go over say: We can give you loads of other examples of people being murdered by the state and the truth not been told and nobody been brought to book about it. It’s in your interest that you fight with us and that we fight with you and fight for the truth and the same thing.

Because if we don’t do that what are we’re doing? If we don’t do that we’re accepting that the state has the right to mistreat people, to murder people, to cover up that murder and just to write people off as if their lives were rubbish, as if they meant nothing. We know that they think that of us! But it’s not often that they’ve expressed it in the murderous bloody way that they’ve done in these cases.

My conclusion that I draw from all this and from this case is that you have to concentrate on the first instance, on the specifics, in the case of Sam Marshall and all the other individual cases of which the list never ends. You have to concentrate on them. You have to get the truth about them and fight them all the way.

But at the same time I think that you have to connect that fight to other aspects of the society that we live in, to other aspects of politics, to get the widest possible backing for this type of thing … and that will come. …it will come… it may not come tomorrow or next year but it will come if we all keep at it. And we all understand the identity of interest which ordinary people have across communities and across boundaries.

I believe that if everybody, in the North of Ireland and the whole of Ireland, everybody should stand by those members of the Nationalist community who were murdered by British forces. It shouldn’t just be other members of the Nationalist community. It is not simply a community thing. It’s far bigger and broader than that. And we should begin to argue that far more openly. And we should argue it across the water- we should argue it in America.

But I’m not in favour of arguing it in the White House with the people over there. George W. Bush, in one of his more recent statements, he’s hardly said a word since he left office, but he talked about his joy at the killing of Osama Bin Laden. Now, I’ve not have much time for Osama Bin Laden I have to say, don’t misunderstand me, but compared to George W. Bush at times I think Osama Bin Laden was a gentleman. (all laugh) Because they murder people with drones and the rest of it all around the world.

Do you know that there’s drones being used in sixty countries? American drones. Sixty countries around the world! They’ve got these unarmed, cowardly machines flying in the air ready to kill people that they don’t like down below. Everybody sitting in the bases in Nevada, in Langley in Virginia and they’ve got these sort of video games and these guys in their early twenties just looking …. (McCann mocks and all laughs) Who’s that there with the turban on? Kill him! They don’t know who they are talking about. And that’s sanctioned! And the Hillary Clintons and the Barack Obamas, Bush In Blackface as I call him, and all the rest of them; the entirety of them. They have no time for us. They have no respect for ordinary people.They place no value on the lives of ordinary working class people.

And when a particular circumstances, like we have in the North of Ireland, where one community can be seen to be in revolt against the system, then every member it is vulnerable and as I say, more broadly, every other citizen as well is vulnerable. So when we stand up and demand the truth about collusion in the murder of Sam Marshall, we’re not simply doing it for the family, although that’s a good enough reason in itself, we’re not simply doing it to vindicate the interest of the community that he comes from, we are doing it for everybody. We are doing it for ourselves!

It’s in our own interest to do it and that’s why, I hope, that this meeting can be seen not just as some anniversary event or something that’s a once off but as part of a continuing and broadening campaign to get the truth admitted about the murder by the British state of Sam Marshall and in so doing to get some of the truth about the nature of the state brought out into the open for the good of all.

Thanks very much. (ends)