On April 19, 2005 the inquiry into the death of Rosemary Nelson by a British-appointed inquiry team opened at Craigavon Civic Centre. The chairman, (Sir) Michael Morland, laid great emphasis on the independence of the inquiry and stated that decisions as to the work of the Inquiry would be “ours and ours alone”. He further stated that “we will resist any attempt to take over or improperly influence the Inquiry which may be made by any body, organisation or special interest group”.
Sadly, this attitude of all-knowing superiority and double-speak has been the hallmark of British conduct in Ireland throughout the entire relationship between Ireland and Britain.
The double-speak which Morland engaged in three and half years ago was cruelly exposed this week. It has been laid bare by the manner in which the Inquiry Panel has permitted unfounded, unproven and unsubstantiated slanders to be made against Rosemary Nelson by members of the RUC/PSNI Special Branch during oral testimony to the Inquiry over the last number of months.
When the Inquiry was established, its primary purpose was to consider the role not only of the RUC but also of the British Army, MI5 and the NIO in the circumstances which led up to the murder of Rosemary Nelson. As anyone who has followed the conduct of the Inquiry since the commencement of its public hearings in April this year can confirm, it appears that Inquiry has lost sight of that original purpose.
Indeed, the Inquiry has permitted various RUC/PSNI and other British intelligence personnel, including members of Special Branch, to freely engage in a concerted and open campaign of slander, innuendo, and malicious rumour against Rosemary Nelson in order to give justification for her murder.
It is worth recalling that among the original Terms of Reference set for this Inquiry was; to establish if “Rosemary Nelson’s death was facilitated by acts or omissions of the RUC, NIO, (British) Army or other state agency” and to ascertain “whether Rosemary Nelson was subject to any adverse behaviour or comments by any persons or organisations, including the RUC, NIO, (British) Army or other state agency”.
Having so far failed to mount any rigorous investigation into the exact role of British forces or their agents in Rosemary’s murder, it should come as no surprise that the Inquiry has now descended into further ignominy by permitting a repeat of the “adverse behaviour or comments” to which she was subjected in life.
Some sections of the corporate media have now joined in that descent to ignominy by repeating, almost as if fact, unproven and unsubstantiated rumours and slanders made by serving and former members of the RUC/PSNI - many of whom have had their identities withheld and who give what very tenuously passes as evidence while hidden from view behind a screen.
It is also noticeable that those same sections of the corporate media failed to give any coverage to comments made almost two weeks ago by Edmund Lynch, the US-based lawyer who was instrumental in pro-actively highlighting death threats made against Rosemary Nelson as far back as March 1997, a full two years before her murder. Mr Lynch raised his concerns to no avail at various levels within the British political and policing establishments in the Six Counties, and also within the British Cabinet itself, on numerous occasions.
Ed Lynch summed up the present state of affairs at the Inquiry on November 20th when he expressed his disappointment ‘with the persistent and unjustified attacks by counsel and witnesses on the character of the deceased, Rosemary Nelson’. As Ed Lynch pointed out ‘The Inquiry was established to inquire into the circumstances of the killing of Ms. Nelson and specifically to ascertain if there was collusion in her death on the part of the security forces. Sadly, the proceedings have strayed far afield. Counsel to the Inquiry pose statements masked as questions which include salacious and unfounded rumours of an affair between Rosemary and a client. The very eager witnesses from the former RUC, the Special Branch and the Intelligence Service rise to the bait and troll in the dirty waters of character assassination.’
It now appears that just as she was attacked by them in life, Rosemary Nelson is now to be attacked in death by those who are widely believed to have played a major role in her murder.