The following is the prepared oral testimony of Raymond McCord Sr. to the US Congressional Committee on Foreign Affairs’ Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights and Oversight, today [Thursday].
Mr McCord has led a campaign to expose British collusion in the death of his son, Raymond Mc Cord Jr. The 22-year-old Protestant man was murdered in 1997 near Belfast to protect a Crown force agent within the unionist paramilitary UVF.
Mr. Chairman and Members,
I am most grateful for the opportunity to appear before this Sub Committee.
I request my written statement be entered into the record.
I see this Hearing as a lifeline that has been thrown to my family and me.
I cannot help but be struck by the difference between the way I have been treated by Members of Congress and the way Unionist/Protestant politicians have treated me. In 2008, when there was a vote taken in the Northern Ireland Assembly on my son’s case, a majority of the Unionist politicians walked out. You can, therefore, see just how much your support means to me.
I look to the United States Congress as my last hope of getting justice for my son Raymond Jr. (22) who was brutally murdered in 1997 near Belfast. The killers belonged to a Protestant paramilitary group - the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF). The man who gave the orders to kill my son is Mark Haddock. He was a longtime paid British Government agent, police informer and serial killer as the Police Ombudsman’s Report of 2007 established.
For nearly 12 years I have campaigned for justice for my son, and for those years the British Government (my government) and the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), my police, have blocked and stonewalled me. They have colluded and are still colluding with the killers of my son and many other victims. I really want to emphasize to this Sub Committee that my son’s case is not about police corruption. IT IS ABOUT POLICE AND STATE COLLUSION WITH MURDER.
The Good Friday Agreement of 1998 promised a “new beginning to policing”. My family and I have experienced no new beginning. We have only experienced cover-ups, lies and threats. Throughout the key period, the police were controlled by Ronnie Flanagan, former Head of the Special Branch, and Chief constable from 1996-2002. (However, I do recognize there are many fine individuals cops in Northern Ireland who were not allowed to do their job).
Sir. Hugh Orde, who until very recently was Chief Constable, was seen as bringing a new attitude to policing. But even he retained Mark Haddock as a paid agent for 15 months after it was established that Haddock had been involved in many murders.
Not long after Raymond’s murder, as I began campaigning for justice, the UVF in one night covered the walls of houses in Protestant areas near my home with the following message: “ Daddy Raymond: Which son next - Gareth or Glenn? Your choice”. Hours earlier they had smashed Raymond’s headstone with hammers, one of three such attacks. Even though the names of the perpetrators were given to the police, I was the one who was arrested and put in a police cell to shut me up. It was one of many times the police arrested me for no reason other than to try and silence me.
The continuing campaign of intimidation and death threats against my family and me is not random. It is controlled and organized and the perpetrators are known because the police and British intelligence have totally penetrated the UVF. The Ombudsman Report, too, has established this.
In May 2009, the Irish National Caucus sponsored my visit to Capitol Hill. While here, the Northern Ireland Bureau in Washington arranged for me to visit the British Embassy to speak with Nick Hailey, the spokesman for justice and policing in Northern Ireland.
Mr. Hailey never answered one question, never offered any explanation, and never uttered the slightest hope that I might get justice for my son.
Why is there such a conspiracy of silence surrounding Raymond’s murder? My son was an innocent 22-year-old, a loving son and brother, who was not a threat to any person or any State
Why has Mark Haddock had so much influence? How can he so shamefully blackmail the British Government and their security forces? What and who gives this murderer so much power? The answer is collusion: it effectively gives killers the power to control their government. Haddock’s first murder was in 1993, which he admitted to two Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) detectives the day after the murder. But instead of being arrested he was given money to go on a foreign holiday and continued to work as an agent and a killer for another 10 years or more.
Here are the questions which are central to my son’s case and which the British Embassy refused to answer:
1. Why has no one been charged with Raymond’s murder?
2. Why was Haddock allowed to kill for so long and get paid for it?
3. Why no action against present or former RUC/PSNI officers who refused to be interviewed or to cooperate with the Ombudsman’s investigation.
4. Why were police officers allowed to get away with admitting to “coaching and baby sitting” suspects in sham interviews to ensure the suspects would not admit to murder? (Police officers even got away with admitting they handed over a bomb to Haddock that was used in the Irish Republic.)
A democratic society requires that the police must not be above the law. Rather, they must uphold it, and be seen to do so. Yet my son’s case clearly demonstrates that in Northern Ireland some police officers and their agents can literally get away with murder. This is not only collusion but also collusion sanctioned from the very top. It is not about the corruption of a few bad apples. What does it do to Northern Ireland society when the government pays serial killers? What does it do to the policing system when killers are given a wage increase of sixty per cent after they commit their first murder, as happened with Mark Haddock when he murdered Sharon McKenna in 1993?
This is the shocking collusion I have been battling against for twelve lonely years. But now it is my hope that with the help of the US Congress, my son will be at last given justice and a great wrong will be righted.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Members, from the bottom of my heart.