Gordon Brwon should follow Obama’s example

‘Mr. Brown needs to have the moral courage and conviction similar to that of the Obama presidency in terms of facing up to the truth and making that truth public no matter how difficult or embarrassing, instead of shielding the public in Ireland and Britain from it. We all deserve better.’ 

Following yesterday’s publication, approved by US President Barack Obama, of a secret report into CIA torture techniques used on detainee’s Relatives for Justice Chairperson Clara Reilly has called on the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown to ‘come clean’ on similar torture techniques used in the north’s notorious holding and interrogations centres over four decades. The RFJ Chairperson also called on Gordon Brown to release the Stevens and Stalker/Sampson reports into collusion and shoot-to-kill.
Speaking today Mrs. Reilly said;
‘I, along with Monsignor’s Raymond Murray and the late Denis Faul, and a number of highly respected individuals from within the community in the form of the Association for Legal Justice (ALJ), documented years of torture on both male and female detainee’s. In later years both Monsignor Murray and myself were founder members of Relatives for Justice in which we, along bereaved relatives, those injured and lawyers, supported families killed in numerous shoot-to-kill incidents, by the use of plastic bullets and in scores of killings that crossed the political divide in which collusion is evidenced.
‘I have been personally involved in documenting human rights abuses for four decades that included torture techniques such as waterboarding; white noise treatment; sleep deprivation; forcing detainee’s to lean face-wards at walls with their legs spread and arms outstretched for periods of up to 12-hours; being deprived of food and water for prolonged periods, and on some occasions day’s, and being physically beaten if they moved a foot or hand from this position; the use of electrodes attached to parts of the body including genitals; the use of cattle-prods; being hooded and run along broken glass; being held against radiators causing serious burns; being taken on helicopters to heights of several hundred feet then hooded, and unknown to detainee’s returning to heights of several feet, and thrown out.
‘This documentation later enabled the Irish Government to take an intergovernmental case against the British Government at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg in which the British Government were found guilty of inhumane and degrading treatment. The full extent of this systemic torture, particularly throughout the 1970’s, has never been officially acknowledged by the British Government despite the European findings and has had prolonged and long-term psychological affects on numerous individuals subjected to it.
‘Today we see that the CIA were also using these techniques – we are not surprised. In all of this abuse President Obama has rightly approved the publication of this secretive report that documents this practice and that must be applauded and hopefully this too signals the beginning of a new era of openness and accountability that is essential to establishing and protecting human rights.
‘In the late 1980’s – and particularly throughout the 1990’s – Relatives for Justice documented 229 instances of loyalist murders that involved collusion. In the publication of the techniques used by CIA officials threats were made to kill the relatives of those being detained. This practice too was commonplace here in the north. In interrogation centres those being detained reported to us on their release that threats were made to kill their relatives. On occasions personal details for example where relatives lived, worked, regular movements and indeed photographs of their loved ones were shown as the threats were made.
‘In areas such as South Derry and throughout Tyrone, especially East Tyrone, this practice was widespread. Relatives of people, many of them republicans, detained and interrogated were targeted and killed by loyalist death squads armed, controlled and directed by British Intelligence and RUC Special Branch.
‘Taxi-Driver Frank Hughes from Dungannon shot and whose charred remains were found burned in his car; pensioner Roseanne Mallon shot-dead at her Dungannon home Co Tyrone; Kevin & Jack McKearney murdered at their family shop in the Moy Co Tyrone; pensioners Tommy & Teresa Fox murdered at their home in Dungannon Co Tyrone; Kathleen O’Hagan whose husband Paddy on returning home found his four children huddled around their mother’s body in a pool of blood at their farmhouse – Kathleen was seven months pregnant; Phelim McNally shot-dead at his home in Ballinderry Co Tyrone.
‘The list goes on and in South Derry the targeting of the work colleagues of those detained were killed at Castlerock as was the targeting and killing of Sinn Fein elected representatives across these areas and the north including their relatives too – with the murders of Teresa Clinton in South Belfast and of Sean Lavery in North Belfast. Scores of attacks took place against elected representatives and their families.
‘Of what we know over 3,000 files containing the personal details of nationalists and republicans were also ‘leaked’ to loyalists for targeting and British Military Intelligence, through their agent Brian Nelson who was secreted into the UDA/UFF by MI5’s Force Research Unit (FRU), organised and prioritised targeting for the UDA/UFF while in Mid-Ulster’s East Tyrone and South Derry the UVF led by Billy Wright carried out these murders and attacks in partnership with local members of the British army’s UDR/RIR.
‘Our message today is directly to Gordon Brown – come clean, release the details and secretive reports into collusion conducted by Sir John Stevens.
‘Since the completion of this report in April 2003 and the recommendations that 25 people, 24 of them members of British Military Intelligence and RUC Special Branch, should be prosecuted for involvement in murders the Public Prosecution Service prevaricated taking over 4-years to decided not to prosecute.
‘Now that this decision has been made there is no longer any legitimate excuse for withholding this report from the families of those bereaved as a consequence of collusion between loyalists and state agencies that were supposed to uphold the law and protect citizens lives.
‘Mr. Brown needs to have the moral courage and conviction similar to that of the Obama presidency in terms of facing up to the truth and making that truth public no matter how difficult or embarrassing, instead of shielding the public in Ireland and Britain from it.
‘As the Obama Presidency seeks to address the failings of previous administrations under the Bush era through openness and transparency the rebuilding of confidence, trust and respect will undoubtedly be advanced.
‘Gordon Brown also has an opportunity to make similar contributions in relation to advancing the Irish peace process that will equally have a positive affect in terms of establishing confidence, trust and cementing peace-building here in Ireland including Anglo-Irish relationships by adapting a like position in regards to now publishing the findings of Stalker/Sampson investigation into shoot-to-kill incidents, and the findings of Sir John Steven’s into collusion.’ ENDS