By Martin Galvin
Following the British announcement of a high profile inquiry into a Royal Ulster Constabulary shoot-to-kill policy, some years back, this writer issued a press statement predicting a “Widgery type whitewash”. Almost immediately I was called by a BBC reporter, who coincidentally was an old friend of the English constable selected to head the inquiry. The reporter insisted that I had misjudged his friend, who would not be party to a whitewash. The BBC reporter would be proven right. His friend, John Stalker, did indeed attempt to conduct a fact-finding rather than fact-hiding mission, and for failing to fulfill his real mission, was removed on a pretext with his career in tatters. As documented in an ongoing series of revelations by the dedicated human rights group Relatives for Justice, (RFJ) there is little risk that the Historical Enquiries Team, set-up by the British to investigate thousands of killings, including many committed with British complicity, will repeat Stalker’s mistake. However Britain’s new version of the old strategy of whitewash by inquiry, alongside British and DUP maneuvering for Sinn Féin cover for the re-named RUC, raises important political questions about the crown’s true motives under the Stormont Deal.
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