Irish Republican News · November 19, 2005
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams and a range of party representatives are among over hundreds of republicans whose personal details have been found on a unionist paramilitary death list.

Dozens of residents in the Short Strand area of east Belfast were informed of the threat on Tuesday night but the PSNI police refused to provide any details.

The PSNI subsequently confirmed that the source of the personal information was a top-secret British military intelligence document that “disappeared” from Castlereagh barracks in east Belfast in July 2004. The base is used by the British Army’s intelligence unit and the PSNI’s Special Branch, both of which have colluded with sectarian death squads for over 30 years.

The dossier has been described as “a British army bible of leading republicans across the north.”

Last year, British officials initially tried to suppress news of the document’s disappearance, and then dismissed it as a “non story”.

Although the UDA triumphantly declared it was in their hands, British officials continued to deny it had been passed to unionist paramilitaries.

Commenting on this latest development, Sinn Féin Belfast MLA Alex Maskey said: “Given the fact that the personal details of 400 people are believed to be contained in the Crown Forces dossier removed from Castlereagh and given to one of the loyalist gangs it will come as no surprise that more republicans are being visited this afternoon in addition to the 50 people spoken to last night.

“However what the visit to Gerry Adams’ home today does prove is that as recently as July of last year the British state was still spying on the Sinn Féin leaders at a time when we were trying to advance the peace process.

“The British have attempted to cover up this collusion scandal involving the RIR since last July. The time for evasion is over. They have endangered people’s lives for long enough. All those who have had their details passed to the loyalist gang must now be informed and the British must come clean on the extent of this operation.”

Republicans have accused the British government of cynically remaining silent on the collusion threat to avoid jeopardising IRA peace moves. No investigation has been announced into the affair, although 28 British RIR soldiers who were in a position to take the document were reportedly relocated to other duties.

“The British government, British ministers and the PSNI have allowed at least 400 people and their families to live under threat for over 16 months without informing them of the danger,” said McGuinness.

“The cynicism with which British officials decided to put people’s lives further at risk rather than expose the truth about wrongdoing within their ranks is totally unacceptable. This is very serious. British forces not only colluded by making information available to unionist paramilitaries, the British authorities have further colluded by trying to keep it a secret,” said McGuinness.

The anti-collusion lobby group, An Fhirinne, has now demanded an international public inquiry into the affair.

“News that dozens of nationalists and republicans have been told that their lives are in danger due to files taken from Castlereagh once again highlights the issue of British state collusion with unionist death squads,” said group spokesman Robert McClenaghan yesterday

“To tell people that their personal details are in the hands of unionist death squads and then refuse to say where the information came from is to continue the cover-up of those involved.

“British military intelligence has been involved in supplying files of nationalists and republicans to death squads for many years. This is nothing new.

“Only when we get to the root causes of collusion and remove from active duty those in military intelligence and PSNI Special Branch who are still actively involved with unionist death squads will we ever resolve this issue.”

North Belfast Sinn Féin assembly member Gerry Kelly said republicans throughout Belfast were still being advised of the threat this week.

Mr Kelly demanded an immediate top-level meeting with the British and Irish governments to demand answers to what he described as a “cover-up”.

“I met both governments in July 2004 when this scandal first broke.

“It was in the course of these meetings that the British government security minster of the time, Ian Pearson, stated clearly that the missing file was not in the hands of loyalists.

“This has proven not to be the case and the effect of these denials and the subsequent cover-up has been 400 people and their families have been living under threat without being informed and therefore unable to take measures to protect themselves.”

After receiving news that her details were in the possession of a unionist death squad, north Belfast Sinn Féin councillor Margaret McClenaghan accused the British government, British army and PSNI of “playing Russian roulette with the lives of 400 people and their families”.

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© 2005 Irish Republican News